by Harry Bernardino, Cybelle Basa, Ma. Roxanne Fatima S. Rolle
To recognize citizens who contribute to the town’s development, the municipality of Los Baños named ten awardees of the 2015 Outstanding Citizens of Los Baños.
Winners received a trophy and certificate during the foundation anniversary program held on September 17 at the old municipal covered court. The search ran from April to July this year.
Mr. Roberto K. Bautista, Jr. is this year’s Outstanding Citizen (Professional Category). A member of several non-government organizations, he is recognized for his efforts to promote socio-economic activities in Los Baños.
Two educators were also called on stage. The Outstanding Public School Teacher awards were given to Rainiel Victor M. Crisologo for the elementary level and Francisco P. Panopio, Jr. in the high school category.
Local organizations reaped recognition as well. The UPLB Credit and Development Cooperative received the Outstanding Cooperative (Large Scale) award while the Kawayanan Bayanihan Multi-purpose Cooperative of Malinta was recognized as the Outstanding Cooperative (Small Scale). Meanwhile, the Autism Society Philippines-Laguna Chapter received the Outstanding Civil Society Organization.
Meanwhile, public servants shared the limelight. Barangay Bambang and Barangay Tadlac were both hailed as the Outstanding Pamahalaang Barangay. Lolita M. Leviste, CPA, is recognized as the Outstanding Municipal Department Head while SPO2 Julian J. de Vera is hailed as this year’s Outstanding Police Officer.
Community service through peace-keeping
“Napakaganda, kasi bihira lang ito, talagang ang aking pinaghirapan mula noon ay nabayaran”, said de Vera after he was awarded as an outstanding police officer. After 32 years of being in service, he still has no intentions of resigning. He also said that awards like these serve as an inspiration to continue community service.
Leviste, the head of the Municipal Accounting Department, is equally happy. “Masaya ako dahil natanggap ko ang award na ito. Sobrang fulfilling”, she said. She dreams of the department being more of the 20th century; having computerized accounting system to further speed up processes in the office.
A reunion of greats
The awarding ceremony also served as a reunion for many residents. In fact, Crisologo, an outstanding elementary teacher, got a chance to meet his former instructor, Mr. Panopio Jr., who is also the awardee of outstanding high school teacher.
As a public servant, Crisologo pledged to do the obligations of being an educator with respect and passion. He added that he wishes to impart knowledge to the youth; that will always be his motivation. According to him, the recognition served as a bonus and a testament that hard work pays off.
Two decades of inspiring citizens
Since 1995, Los Baños has been honoring the efforts of notable locals through the Outstanding Citizen award. To date, around 136 individuals and groups alike have been recognized, including this year’s winners.
The first line up of awardees in 1995 were Commanding Brigadier Gen Dante V. Oliveros, NEDA Sec. Cielito Habito, DECS (now DepEd) Sec. Ricardo Gloria, DOST Sec. William Padolina, UP System President Emil Q. Javier, and DA Usec. Manuel Lantin.