This year’s recipients of the Outstanding Filipinos Award by the Metrobank Foundation have been revealed. The award recognizes those who have provided the country an exceptional service that is above and beyond one’s call of duty. Recipients of the award are those who have have transformed a community with a lasting positive impact and have inspired and influenced their peers as well as the people around them.
Here we list down three of the ten award recipients who have proved themselves to be inspirational when it comes to promoting Filipino culture and literacy.
Mary Jane S. Ramo
Misamis Occidental’s Culture and Environment Heroine
An English teacher from Misamis Occidental, Mary Jane S. Ramo has focused her life’s work onto the promotion of indigenous peoples (IP) education. She is said to have been instrumental in bringing back the Subanen’s (an IP group in the Zamboanga Peninsula) self- worth and adoration for their native culture.
Back when the Subanen themselves stopped speaking their native language, Ginasalugan, Ramo was the one who promoted the Subanen culture in their community and reintroduced indigenized learning resources to the Tonggo Elementary School. As fruit of her labor, most natives today speak the language and proudly showcase their customs and traditions not only during festivities, but in their everyday routine.
Ramo is also known to be aggressive when it comes to environmental protection. She started a clean and green initiative called “Basura Ko, Tulubagon Ko” to educate the Subanen community about proper waste management. She also encouraged the creation of a material recovery facility in the community. This year, she is spearheading “Let’s Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”, to encourage every schoolchild to build their own eco-bricks which will be used in the creation of their Christmas tree this December.
Lt. Col. Danilo T. Facundo
Philippine Navy’s Joint and Interagency Champion
Lieutenant Colonel Danilo T. Facundo has been a Marine Corps officer for 23 years now. A strong advocate of advancing the interests of indigenous peoples (IP) in Palawan, Lt. Col. Facundo led regular visits to IP communities in which they would conduct medical and dental missions and distribute educational materials. His team also led Tribal Olympics, Lakbay Aral (field trips), and leadership summits to inculcate the principle of culture-based patriotism among the youth.
On the administrative level, Lt. Col. Facundo challenged existing norms within the Marines by initiating programs on bottom-up leadership and gender mainstreaming. He introduced leadership programs for junior officers and non- commissioned personnel and also empowered female Marines by assigning them to lead community engagement programs and command rifle companies in the frontlines.
Sr. Police Officer I Aida L. Awitin
Davao Occidental’s Enforcer-Educator
For the majority of her 12 years of service in the police force, Awitin has worked as an investigator of the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) in the Davao Region. A staunch advocate of police-community relations, Awitin was the moving force behind the institutionalization of the Lingap Mamamayan program which promoted a more efficient system of delivering social services to underprivileged communities in Davao Occidental.
The Lingap Mamamayan program also became the springboard for Akyat Aral, which aimed to provide basic literacy lessons to the community. It also served as a platform for promoting awareness on crime-related policies and strategies.
In 2017, SPO1 Awitin established the Junior Police (J-Police) program. By recruiting high-performing students alongside those with disruptive and problematic behaviors, the differences between these groups were resolved and they were made to work together instead. Barely a year since the implementation of the J-Police program, there has been a significant decrease in dropout rates, crime incidences, and disturbances in schools and communities.
To learn more about the Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos, visit their Facebook Page.