DOST-6 honors scholars’ achievements

(Photo by DOST-VI Knowledge Management Unit)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Region 6 on Friday, April 26, honored the graduates of its premier scholarship program, who have excelled not only within the walls of their schools but also in their chosen fields.

The agency’s annual In Touch With Excellence acknowledged honor scholar-graduates who have achieved Latin honors and board topnotcher ranks from universities within the region.

Honorees included 6 summa cum laudes, including 1 each from University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) and University of St. La Salle (USLS) and 4 from West Visayas State University (WVSU), as well as 87 magna cum laudes, 104 cum laudes, and 1 academic service awardee.

Also present are graduates from Aklan State University, Capiz State University, Carlos Hilado Memorial State University, Central Philippine University (CPU), Iloilo Science and Technology University, Technological University of the Philippines Visayas, and University of Antique.

They also recognized 15 board topnotchers from licensure and certification examinations in electronics engineering, fisheries, mechanical engineering, microbiology, and teaching.

Yancy Aubrey Panugon, WVSU’s 2023 Batch Valedictorian and Rank 10 in the 2023 Licensure Exam for Professional Teachers, provided his testimonial as one of the scholarship programs’ alumni.

Panugon shared his story of growing up with life struggles, comparing to action movies where he was the protagonist, and poverty was the adversary.

He cited the roles in his life by his grandmother and uncle, who stood as his parents from childhood, and his mentor at WVSU, Dr. Antoniette D. Cortez, whom he had considered family in his college journey, as well as his classmates and teachers in elementary and high school, who gave him support.

“I can still remember the nights when [grandmother] had to hold a flashlight over my books so that I could see what I was reading and writing. Sometimes, my teachers will ask why my projects have drops of melted candles on them. As if that was not hard enough, sleeping during the rainy season was a challenge,” Panugon described.

“Seeking help during tough times is essential because no one can navigate through challenges alone. With this, I am proud to say that I already graduated as university valedictorian last year from [WVSU], and with my remaining DOST scholarship allowance, I immediately took the board exams with 2 months of preparation and being the only taker for our class. Fortunately, I ranked number 10 out of 95,000 takers,” he shared.

He also shared his experiences growing up in an underdeveloped community in Iloilo City, and traveling to remote areas, where children wish to learn in school but also need resources for their home.

“Based on these encounters, many out-of-school youth wish to have the opportunity to learn and succeed just like us. A hard living like this exists for many children, and is sadly overlooked in the grand narratives of excellence,” Panugon said.

“We have been given a rare gift, a gift of education, and with this gift comes our responsibility, to be the beacon of hope for children facing educational barriers. Let’s take on this responsibility with a humbled heart and a sense of purpose, because we can collectively be the catalysts of change, the advocates for justice, and the architects of a more equitable and compassionate world,” he added.

The event also swore in officers of the DOST Scholars Association in Region VI (DOST-SAIS), composed of current scholars from higher educational institutions (HEIs) across the region.

Prior to their oath-taking, members and officers of the DOST-SAIS implemented its Assistance and Empowerment Hub for future scholars, and collected 1,938 pencils from the undergraduate scholarship exams.

These pencils, along with science-themed storybooks, would be donated to pupils in schools in far-flung areas and in Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities.

DOST-6 Regional Director Rowen Gelonga, in his welcoming message, encouraged the honorees to partner with them “to solve the problems in society”.

He cited the regional office’s latest introduction, the Innovation Hub (iHub), which is located in their provincial offices as well as other partner institutions, offering them collaboration, mentorship, and unlimited coffee.

“We would like to use it [iHub] as your tambayan if you are a [DOST] scholar. There will always be free coffee, I can assure you that. It’s a small space, but we intend that as a safe space for innovation. You can use it for homework, to consult with our personnel. It will also be used as a space where our scientists can meet with business owners [and] the local government units and come up with projects where we can use science and technology to address the problems of society,” Gelonga said.

He also hoped that they engage with the department’s Balik-Scientist Program, citing the accomplishments of scientist beneficiaries from WVSU, UPV, and the University of San Agustin.

The DOST provides scholarships to students studying in undergraduate degree programs relating to science, mathematics, engineering, agriculture, and other closely-related fields under Republic Act Nos. 2067 (Science Act of 1958), 7687 (Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994), and 10612 (Fast-Tracked S&T Scholarship Act of 2013), and other related laws.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here