Quirino foundation hails everyday heroes
Teachers should open classroom doors to expand learning.
Their profession demands more than just “filling the minds of students,” said Ma. Concepcion Domingo, a public school teacher from Cabarroguis town, Quirino province.
“It is giving your life, tender and loving care, understanding and patience so that you can transform them into better and productive individuals,” Domingo said.
For Mary Jane Donesa, a state educator from Davao City, teachers should go that extra mile and reach out to street children and encourage them to “leave the streets and go back to their families and schools, and eventually finish their studies.”
Teacher Rita Embang of Baguio added that her colleagues should find time to be actively involved in community development projects.
For his part, Edwin Llavore, a teacher from Agoo, La Union province, said parents should step in and get involved in their children’s classroom affairs through personal consultations in their homes.
Domingo, Donesa, Embang and Llavore are just four of 11 teachers from public elementary and high schools nationwide who have been named winners of the inaugural “Guro to Pangulo” Awards of the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation (PEQF).
They were selected from 18 primary schools, 10 high schools and a state university, all of which bear the name of the country’s sixth President.
The awardees in the primary school category are Orden Cayso and Embang, both from Quirino Elementary School in Irisan, Baguio City; Donesa from the Quirino Elementary School in Davao City; and Vilma Quirog from Quirino Central School in Sultan Kudarat.
Winners in the secondary school category are Rodel Rivera and Daisy Santos, both from Quirino High School in Project 3, Quezon City; Gemma Jarata and Llavore, both from Quirino National High School in Agoo; Evangeline Dasalla from Quirino National High School in Sultan Kudarat; and Domingo from Quirino General High School in Cabarroguis, Quirino province.
Jarata is a native of Aringay, the La Union town where President Quirino attended a private school in his younger years and acquired his skills in drawing under Maestro Anastacio Aquino.
The eleventh awardee is mobile teacher Val Gawi, also from Cabarroguis town. He serves the barangays (villages) of Nagabgaban, Alicia, Ramon, Diodol, Ramos and San Benigno.
The awardees each received a Guro to Pangulo medal minted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and a scholarship program for continuing studies from Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development, among other incentives.
The PEQF, in coordination with the Department of Education, recognized the “extraordinary efforts” of the 11 teachers, who “have contributed significantly to the development of the Filipino youth.”
During a recent program at the Kalayaan Hall in Malacañang, lawyer Aleli Angela Quirino, PEQF president, referred to the Guro to Pangulo Awards as the foundation’s “own little way of giving back to these outstanding educators —our everyday heroes—who make sure that our children are prepared to be future leaders and responsible citizens of society.”
President Quirino “reserved his highest esteem for our nation’s heroes. In fact, one of the things he made possible during his presidency was to increase the minimum wage for teachers because he knew all too well the demands of the job, that the job of a teacher never just ends in the classroom,” she noted.
Ms Quirino is the third of six children of Judge Antonio Quirino, youngest brother of the former President.
Journey to greatness
Quirino, the country’s president from April 18, 1948 to Dec. 30, 1953, started his journey to greatness as a barrio school teacher in Cauayan, Ilocos Sur, his hometown (although he was born in Vigan, the provincial capital).
He finished law at the University of the Philippines and finished second in the bar examinations.
He then worked under then President Manuel Quezon, became an assemblyman in 1919 and senator in 1925. He was reelected to the Senate in 1931 and 1941.
The Manuel Roxas-Elpidio Quirino tandem emerged victorious in the 1946 elections. Quirino became President when then President Roxas died in 1948.
During the Quirino administration, major infrastructure projects such as the Ambuklao Dam in Benguet and the Maria Cristina Hydroelectric Power Plant in Iligan City, were constructed.
In an executive order, Quirino also instructed all public school teachers nationwide to “collect stories on the origins of their barangay, towns and provinces.” These are now part of the collections of the National Historical Commissions.
The Guro to Pangulo Awards is part of the year-long series of activities that the PEQF had lined up for its Elpidio Quirino, or “EQ 125” campaign in commemoration of the late leader’s 125th birth anniversary on Nov. 16.
In April, a dedication wall, called “Ako Pilipino,” was unveiled at the Ayala Museum in Makati City to honor President Quirino and the three values he espoused when he was the country’s leader—goodwill, tolerance and love.
Aside from Aleli Angela, the other Quirino descendants present during the gathering were Cory Quirino, Inquirer lifestyle columnist, broadcast journalist and celebrity host and Ma. Rosario Quirino Gonzales-Meyer. Aside from Aleli Angela and Cory, the other members of the PEQF board are Ruby Quirino-Gonzales and her brother Louie Gonzales.
President Quirino lost his wife, Alicia Syquia and three of their five children during World War II.
During the Ayala Museum event, the PEQF head talked about the tolerance exhibited by the late leader for forgiving the Japanese invaders despite the massacre of his family members in February 1945.
He signed the clemency papers in his sick bed in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 4, 1953, shortly before the presidential campaign that year.
On Feb. 29, 1956, President Quirino died of a heart attack in Novaliches, Quezon City. His remains were buried at the Manila South Cemetery in Makati.
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