November 4, 2022 – For his unwavering commitment to serving his students and community, a public school teacher from Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) was recognized as one of the 10 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos Awardees for 2022 in its 60th founding anniversary.

Mr. Junmerth T. Jorta, Teacher I and Officer-in-Charge of Keupiyanan Te Balugo, a Last Mile School in Bukidnon, mentioned that one of the reasons behind his recognition is his vision of children to dream big.

“I love to teach young children to dream big. I wanted to influence and inspire young learners to pursue their dreams. I want to continue doing my best for the countless IP children, helping them prepare at an early age for them to have the highest possible chances of becoming successful in the near future,” Mr. Jorta mentioned while citing his teaching experience in the indigenous community of San Fernando.

Devoting over a decade to being an educator, Jorta focused on promoting and preserving the identity and culture of the Matigsalug Tribe to establish indigeneity-centered education.

“It is my long-term vision that in five to 10 years, IP learners can access culturally appropriate and child-friendly facilities such as a library with books and audio-visual materials, a playground, and a clinic. These can be achieved through multi-sectoral engagement and tangible support from IP education champions,” Jorta said.

In Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI)’s hybrid conferment ceremony, Jorta was recognized for his outstanding contribution to the Indigenous People’s (IP) community in combating hunger and illiteracy through advocating youth and community programs.

Among his hailed initiatives was the Pagkaon Sakto, a hunger-free lunch program that aims to help encourage more students to enroll, and curb absenteeism and dropouts through the development of nourishment and learning projects.

Jorta also initiated the OK sa Balugo, which is a convergence of programs and projects in acquiring resources for other facilities like school stage, toilets, sound system, and feeding materials, and BASA Balugo and Kubo sa Pagbasa, a special reading program to develop and strengthen the reading capability of children who are non-readers.

Other teacher recipients of the prestigious award were Christine Joy DR. Aguila, Ph.D., “Quezon City’s Champion Educator of Filipino Language Instruction,” Special Science Teacher 5, Philippine Science High School – Main Campus (Quezon City); Mark Nolan P. Confesor, Ph.D., “Mindanao’s Physicist-Educator Extraordinaire,” Professor 6, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (Iligan City); and (4) Leonila F. Dans, M.D., M.Sc., “Manila’s Pioneering Educator on Pediatric Rheumatology,” Professor 12, University of the Philippines Manila (City of Manila).

Composed of four (4) teachers, three (3) soldiers, and three (3) police officers, the 2022 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos received a Php1 million cash prize, a gold medallion, and “The Flame” trophy from Metrobank Chairman Arthur V. Ty and Metrobank Foundation President Aniceto M. Sobrepeña.