Sponsorship Speech on Senate Resolution No. 805 Commending and Congratulating the 2023 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos



Chairperson, Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation

Resolution No. 805 Commending and Congratulating the 2023 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos

September 26, 2023

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, good afternoon.

Lately, we wake up disheartened to hear stories of civil servants involved in wrongdoings or misconduct. While there are those labeled as scalawags, the vast majority of civil servants take their responsibilities seriously.

These individuals, who begin each day with a sense of duty and a deep understanding of the public trust vested in them, are the unsung heroes of our government. The 2023 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos are no ordinary individuals; they go above and beyond their call of duty, and their accomplishments and community involvement have created a lasting positive impact on our society.

Mr. President, this year’s awardees, who join the ranks of the 675 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos since 1985, have dedicated their lives to serving our country in various fields. Each one of them has made significant contributions that have touched the lives of countless individuals, families, and communities.

In our educator-awardees – Mr. Rex Sario, Mr. June Elias Patalinghug, Mr. Edgar Durana, and Dr. Jovelyn Delosa – we witness the power of knowledge and mentorship as they shape the minds of our future generations, instilling in them the values that will guide them to become responsible and compassionate citizens.

One common thread among this year’s outstanding law enforcers is their exceptional commitment to duty characterized by a trailblazing spirit and genuine dedication to uplifting their community.

Police Colonel Renell Sabaldica, a transformational leader for innovative law enforcement and community development within the Philippine National Police (PNP), empowered his colleagues to achieve radical reforms and facilitated the procurement of new infrastructure and equipment to improve the working conditions of fellow policemen.

PNP’s vanguard of police integrity, Police Major Mae Ann Cunanan, paved the way for stringent anti-scalawag operations within their ranks, eventually leading to the formation of the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG). She also advocates for LGBT rights.

Police Chief Master Sergeant Dennis Bendo, dubbed Manila City’s police mentor for out-of-school youth and children in conflict with the law, led the establishment of the “Ang Guro Kong Pulis Mobile Library” to provide education and sustenance to juvenile delinquents. He also collaborated with the Department of Education on the Manila Police District’s alternative learning system for indigent individuals, out-of-school youth, and children in conflict with the law.

As for our awardees from the military sector, they are prime examples of highly motivated, competent individuals and agents of meaningful reforms and national development.

Lanao del Sur’s peace and youth empowerment sentinel, Staff Sergeant Danilo Banquiao, successfully mobilized and empowered the youth as active peace partners and advocates within their localities. He also organized efforts for former violent extremists surrenderees after the Marawi Siege to become third-party advocates for peace and development within Lanao del Sur.

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Bitancur, Assistant Commandant of the Philippine Air Force Basic Military School (PAFBMS), engages the youth as a resource speaker in the series of Campus Peace and Development Forums of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). He is also a strong advocate of gender equality and safety from maltreatment and harassment. Known as the Philippine Air Force’s Model Mentor on Military Training, he ensured the highest standards in training and treatment of trainees.

Philippine Army Colonel Joseph Jeremias Dator’s knack for intelligence has led to innovative practices in intelligence operations, earning him the distinction of officer of the year in every office he has held. His leadership resulted in the rehabilitation of former members of the CPP-NPA, leading to an insurgency-free Davao region.

Mr. President, dear colleagues, these remarkable individuals toil behind the scenes, away from the limelight, and without seeking recognition. They persevere in the face of challenges, bureaucratic red tape, and sometimes limited resources. Their dedication is a testament to their commitment to the betterment of society.

In times when trust in government institutions may waver, these dedicated civil servants are the pillars that uphold the foundations of democracy and good governance. They exemplify what public service should be—a selfless commitment to the welfare of the people they serve.

We owe it to these individuals to recognize their efforts and support their work. They are the real heroes, and their unwavering commitment deserves our utmost respect and appreciation.

Thank you, Mr. President.