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.
Together with MSU-IIT as one of its partners, the European Union (EU) Delegation of the Philippines congratulated its winners of the EU Peace Journalism Awards at the Hotel Intercontinental, Makati on July 8, 2015.
Representing the Institute was Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol who joined in the giving of awards and the ribbon-cutting of the photo exhibition. Also in attendance were IPDM’s Prof. Juvanni A. Caballero and Dr. Mark Anthony J. Torres who was a member of the board of judges.
The Journalism Awards aim at reshaping media as a vehicle of reporting peace. Instead of war reporting on violent armed conflicts, the European Union Delegation of the Philippines envisions Philippine journalists become beacons of peaceful social transformation through awareness and appreciation to the peace process in the Mindanao context.
MSU-IIT is the only academe that is in partnership with EU. Torres thinks of two reasons for this: “IIT’s adjacent location to conflict-affected areas and the IPDM’s engagement and contribution in the peace process in Mindanao.”
The European Union’s collaboration with IIT is an indication of the long-standing commitment of both institutions for peace, especially in Mindanao.
Winners in the Peace in Mindanao for Reel: 3rd Short Film Festival were revealed during the Awards Night on December 1 at the Institute Mini-Theatre. A total of 7 peace music videos and 8 short films competed in the said contest.
The awards night was graced by Director Lourdes Chang of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and attended by parents, students and other partners from the civil society organization.
Along with the films and music videos, 15 paintings were also awarded and exhibited.
The Awarding Ceremony served as the culmination of a series of events in celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace.
Here are the winners:
MUSIC VIDEO Competition
Best Song – Hakarayawan
People’s Choice Award – Hakarayawan
Best Music Video (Second Runner-up) – Voice of Peace
Best Music Video (First Runner-up) – Bolos Ka Kalilintad
Best Music Video (CHAMPION) – Hakarayawan
SHORT FILM Competition
Best Story – Salimot
People’s Choice Award – Sangil
Best Short Film (Second Runner-up) – Mga Talan-awon sa Dyip ni Abdul
MSU-IIT’s Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM), in partnership with International Alert and the German Development Agency (GIZ) through the Civil Peace Service Program, hosted a research forum on Mindanao Facets and Issues on December 1, 2014 at the Institute’s Mini-Theatre.
More than 200 individuals from 30 organizations from the academe, civil society, the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), international NGOs, and community leaders from Lanao del Norte, Iligan, Marawi, Cagayan de Oro, and Ozamis attended the forum.
Institute Chancellor, Dr. Sukarno D. Tanggol, was present to deliver an inspirational message to the participants.
IPDM Peace Research Coordinator, Dr. Mark Anthony Torres, presented a research output on The Changing Conflict Landscape in Lanao, while IPDM’s Officer-in-Charge Prof. Juvanni Caballero presented a study on Confluence of Factors Affecting Crime Reporting and Recording in Lanao.
The Bangsamoro Conflict Monitoring System (BCMS), a World Bank commissioned project, was also launched on the same day. Initial results with data collected from both media and non-media sources including blotter reports from the PNP were presented to the participants.
The BCMS is intended to establish and maintain a database on violent conflict incidents in the proposed core territory of the Bangsamoro.
BCMS Assistant Project Leader, Liezl Bugtay, also presented a research output on Rebellion, Political Violence and Shadow Crimes in the Bangsamoro: The Bangsamoro Conflict Monitoring System (BCMS), 2011-2013.
At the launching – EU representative Edoardo Manfredini (seated rightmost) and resource person Veronica Pedrosa and (seated beside him) with the event staff and representatives from EU’s partners.
In line with its long-standing commitment to the Mindanao peace process, the Delegation of theEuropean Union (EU) to the Philippines and its partners launched the 1stOctober 10 at the Al-Nor Hotel, Cotabato City.
Collaborating with EU as one of its partners in organizing this program is MSU-IIT’s Institute forPeace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM). EU’s other partners are the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism, Ateneo de Manila University, the Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines, and philstar.com. This program is also in collaboration with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
The launching was attended by EU delegation to the Philippines headed by Mr. Edoardo Manfredini, EU Program Manager, representing EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux; Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chair Mohagher Iqbal; Dir. Marlon Dedumo of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP); veteran journalist Ms. Veronica Pedrosa of Aljazeera; representatives from EU’s partner organizations, and members of the media and civil society organizations. At the launching – EU representative Edoardo Manfredini (seated rightmost) and resource person Veronica Pedrosa and (seated beside him) with the event staff and representatives from EU’s partners.
“Today is a time of great promise but also a time when the new [Bangsamoro] governance structure is not yet in place. This is a time which should be used to explain to all stakeholders the benefit of this[GPH-MILF] agreement for the people of Mindanao and for the people of the Philippines. This is a time when the role of the media is even more important than at other times.” Ambassador Ledoux said in a statement read for him by Manfredini addressing the (media) participants.
The program aims to raise awareness about the impact and value of peace and the peace process, in general, and to generate information and a deeper understanding of the Bangsamoro peace process, in particular. It also intends to help the Philippine journalists appreciate their role as agents of peaceful social transformation through balanced, responsible, culturally-sensitive and conflict-sensitive reporting on peace and conflict stories; and to generate awareness, interest and appreciation for EU-supported activities in Mindanao in the context of the peace process.
The EU Peace Journalism Awards is a campaign which will run until May 2015. It is open to all Philippine-based journalists with the following categories: written text published in print media, online and broadcast media, photojournalism, campus journalism, and government advocacy peace projects.
Finalists will receive trophies, certificates, and special gadgets, while the grand winner will get the chance to travel to Brussels, Belgium to meet with peace advocates and fellow journalists.