DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin A. Luistro FSC, Teacher Marcelo T. Otinguey, Teacher Concepcion T. Tababa, District Supervisor Connie A. Emborong and Jonathan Batangan of Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions
Four of the ten happiest Pinoys recognized in a recent awarding ceremony are teachers. The search for the happiest Pinoy is a joint project of Cebuana Lhuillier and the Department of Education which aims to find the most optimistic and resilient Filipino in the country.
The winners are student Arnel Alipao of Mainit, Surigao del Norte, marriage counselor Gilda Fortunato of Gumaca, Quezon, social worker Rommel Arellano of Limay, Bataan, teacher and peace worker Connie Emborong of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte, public school teacher Marcelo Otinguey of Kapangan, Benguet, UP Math instructor John Gabriel Pelias of Quezon City, entrepreneur Gerald Raymundo of Pasig City, alternative learning system coordinator and teacher Concepcion Tababa of Tubungan, Iloilo, businesswoman Rebecca Tiusonco of Borongan, Eastern, Samar and utility worker Leonardo Villanueva of Malabon City.
“DepEd is happy that even in contests such as this, teachers continue to be recognized as the face of inspiration and hope to other people,” said Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC.
Emborong is an advocate of "wear a smile". She reminds participants of all her training sessions to wear a smile all the time. At present, she is one of the editors of the newly developed Peace Education exemplars which will be used in teaching Peace Education and Children's Rights among shoolchildren in the province of Lanao del Norte. As a peace advocate, she is also a speaker/resource person and curriculum writer on the subject of peace education, gender and development and children's rights.
Public school teacher Otinguey believes in the motto "Life is service". Despite stories of disservice and inefficiency in public service, he continually explored ways to broaden his horizon and initiated advocacies in health, education, environment, safety, etc such as livelihood training to students, out of school youths and stay-at-home mothers. His resourcefulness and determination helped provide books and other educational materials for various schools and communities. He is also a recipient of 2005 Lingkod Bayan/Presidential Awards from the Civil Service Commission.
Meanwhile, Pelias is a living proof that poverty is not an obstacle to achieve and excel. He graduated Summa cum laude with the degree BS Mathematics from UP Diliman achieving the second highest general weighted average in the UP Diliman history -- 1.016. At present, he is already teaching at the Institute of Mathematics at UP Diliman despite enticing offers from multinational companies for him to work in their companies. His continued involvement in UP is his way of giving back to his school which had allowed him to achieve his dreams despite several drawbacks.
As part of the alternative learning system, Tababa has traveled to far-flung villages where many have not seen a book. Her goal is to inspire her students to change their lives through education. To her, teaching is not bound by the four walls of the classroom so she expands the gift of education wherever and whenever opportunity comes. She has even risked her life and that of her entire family to pursue her chosen vocation. Her daily routine includes a 23-kilometer walk from Tubungan, Iloilo to the farthest barangays -- where a precarious peace and order situation looms but this does not stop her in reaching out to the rebels and convincing them to resume their studies have become the focus of her advocacy. She introduced the BAOL (Barangay Aid on Literacy) program or mobile library to encourage them to study together with their families at their own pace. She bravely used education as a weapon to fight illiteracy, poverty and attain peace in her hometown. Because of her dedication to her profession, she was a finalist in the Metrobank Foundation 2007 Search for Outstanding Teachers and an honoree in the Bato Balani Foundations' "The Many Faces of the Teacher 2011.”
Luistro added that the search brings home the point that happiness can be found while in the service of others. “We note that the winners derive their positive outlook from serving the needs of other people,” he added.
The criteria for judging are: a constantly cheerful face and optimistic outlook; proven ability to rise above life’s challenges; and positive impact in the lives of others.
DepEd at the beginning of the school year launched a “Wear a Smile” campaign to bring out a cheerful atmosphere in the campuses and influence pupils and students to look forward to every school day.
“The wear a smile campaign will remind them that a smile can draw out positive energy from students and fellow teachers,” Luistro added.