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Outstanding Teachers in the Nation’s Service

Teachers play a vital role in our country. They open the minds of our young to everyday realities and help them understand our society better, making them more aware of and involved in contemporary concerns through the lens of history and accumulated wisdom. It is through the work of outstanding teachers that we hope to develop in our students a genuine love of country and a passion for service to our countrymen. Thus, it is very fitting that every year we pay homage to the contribution and sacrifice of outstanding teachers.

This year, I was honored to join the panel of judges that selected The Outstanding Filipinos roster that honored four teachers, along with three soldiers and three police officers. After a rigorous selection process, we selected the following public servants to be conferred the prestigious award: teachers Dorothy S. Tarol, Ph.D., Cristina B. Cristobal, Ph.D., Ricardo T. Jose, Ph.D., and Eva Maria C. Cutiongco-de la Paz, MD; soldiers Master Sgt. Ramil A. Caporas PA, Maj. Romulo G. Dimayuga II PN, and Lt. Col. John Paul D. Baldomar PA; and police officers Police Chief Master Sgt. Marsha T. Agustin, RSW, Police Maj. Robert A. Reyes, and Police Col. Edwin A. Quilates.

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Allow me to focus on our four notable educators and their innovations in improving the quality of education in the country.

Hailing from Iloilo City, Dr. Dorothy Tarol aspires to promote an inclusive education system conducive to all kinds of learners. After losing her hearing at the age of 35, Dr. Tarol devoted her teaching career to educating students with disabilities at the Special Education-Integrated School for Exceptional Children in Iloilo City. Through peer-based counseling between students, Dr. Tarol aims to develop the basic literacy skills of students with hearing impairment. This is a departure from the typical “tutor-tutee” setup, and instead builds up learning through learner-initiated activities such as recreation, bonding activities and conversations with the use of flip charts with illustrations.

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Dr. Cristina Cristobal believes that to be able to make the learning of history more meaningful, the learning experience should be deeper and more experiential. This belief helped her as she introduced reforms to the Philippine Science High School’s Social Science curriculum. Dr. Cristobal allows Grade 7 students to use primary sources, such as original documents, records and pictures of artifacts, in studying their history lessons. She believes that exposing students to these sources of information deepens their understanding and appreciation of historical events.

As the country’s foremost historian on World War II, Ricardo Jose, Ph.D., strives to fill in the gaps in the country’s past by continuing to venture into further studies and sharing his expertise and extensive knowledge through local and international lectures. Dr. Jose, a well-respected historian for four decades now, is often remembered by different generations of students from the University of the Philippines Diliman because of his lighthearted delivery of lectures and interactive class discussions, where he would bring actual historical items he has collected throughout his career.

Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-de la Paz is a coproponent and implementer of the first and only training program in Clinical Genetics, designed to provide knowledge and skills required for diagnostic evaluation, management, genetic education and counseling of patients with genetic disorders. For her extension work, Dr. Cutiongco-de la Paz has made an impact in disease management, improvement of psychosocial support and increasing the health-seeking behavior of patients with X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism—a brain condition causing involuntary movements of the body combined with Parkinsonism primarily found in locals from the Panay group of islands.

The Outstanding Filipinos Award is a longstanding project of the Metrobank Foundation Inc. Since 1985, a total of 665 Outstanding Filipinos have been recognized for their selfless service to the Philippines. These awardees live up to the standards of genuine public service. May their tribe prosper as they continue to serve as beacons of hope for our country, especially in these trying times.

Ramon R. del Rosario Jr. is president and CEO of Phinma and former chair of the Makati Business Club.

Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club ([email protected]).

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