by Christine Godinez Ortega, Office of Publication & Information
Dr. Mark Anthony J. Torres, OIC of the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) and Associate Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics (DBS-CSM) is the youngest recipient of the 2016 Metrobank Foundation Search for Outstanding Teachers Award for the higher education competition and the third faculty member from the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to receive it.
In a letter informing Torres of his selection as one of two college teacher-recipients of the award this year, Aniceto M. Sobrepena, President of the Metrobank Foundation said that Torres now joins the ranks of “distinguished teachers honored by the Metrobank Foundation in the last 32 years.”
Torres at 34 is the youngest recipient of the award in the tertiary level. When the results were clear that he would be one of the winners this year, Metrobank Foundation President Sobrepena personally interviewed Torres and informed him of his selection as outstanding teacher awardee.
He will receive a gold medallion, a trophy and a cash prize of Php 500,000.00.
Torres seems to be a young man in a hurry. At 19 years old, he finished his BS in Biology, magnacum laude at MSU-IIT and at 26 years old, he finished his Ph.D. in Biology also in MSU-IIT. His dissertation on rice pests earned for him a third prize from DOST. His other awards include the “Outstanding Alumnus in 2010” from the MSU-IIT Alumni Association and the “Best Teacher Award” in 2013 from the MSU-IIT KASAMA.
Torres talked about how he began this quest for excellence throughout his young life. Fired up by what one of his elementary teachers said to his class to be “the best of who [what] you are”, Torres had always wanted to be the best teacher there is. While in college, he had organized study sessions with his classmates to learn better the lessons in class.
In an interview with Gazette at the OPI, Torres said he believes that what is most fulfilling about his teaching profession and as a peace educator during his involvement in the peace process is the ability to be persuasive to students and to all kinds of people, including heads of government agencies.
As a biologist equipped with his knowledge and training in environmental studies and in human behavior, Torres has recently poured his efforts to peace building because he believes he is effective in dealing with all levels of society since, he said, he uses his common sense and his developed sense of empathy for people.
“The peace issue cuts across disciplines and is not a monopoly of one discipline,” he said.
Withthis prestigious award, Torres said that he will use it as a platform to expand the depth and breadth of his activities to engage everyone in nation building. He hopes he can inspire more faculty members to be achievers as much as he had been inspired by his Metrobank Search for Outstanding Teachers Award co-finalists in order to be more creative and innovative.
This year’s 2016 Metrobank Search for Outstanding Teachers drew 540 applicants which were narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists. Out of this, 10 winners were selected: 4 for the elementary level, 4 for high school level and two for the tertiary level.
Torres is the only awardee this year from Mindanao for the higher education competition. He is the third MSU-IIT faculty member to win the Metrobank Search for Outstanding Teachers. The other two were Dr. Jaime An Lim (Department of English, CASS) and Dr. Zenaida Ochotorena (Chemistry Department, CSM).
Of this recent award, Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol told Gazette that the faculty members of the MSU-IIT are outstanding in their own disciplines and that he is proud of Torres.