Pandemic-related public service recognized with the 4th Gawad Pangulo Awards

| Written by Franco Gargantiel II

Public service has never been an easy task, which is why the University of the Philippines (UP) hosted the 4th annual Gawad Pangulo Awards for Excellence: to honor the many Filipino men and women in public service. This year’s theme is “UP’s Public Service Initiatives in the time of the COVID-19 Pandemic”, focusing on awarding achievements that these Filipinos have accomplished that have helped the country during this global pandemic.

Since the country is still under lockdown, this year’s awards ceremony was held virtually, hosted by UP Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Wendell P. Capili. Watch the replay of the livestream on TVUP’s YouTube channel.

The first speaker for the event was none other than UP President Danilo L. Concepción, welcoming all the attendants to this event honoring the 15 awardees for their achievements in public service.

UP President Danilo L. Concepcion gives his welcome address during the 4th Gawad Pangulo Awards ceremony. Screenshot by Raden Gerald Agustin, UPMPRO.

“The fourth edition of the Gawad Pangulo aims to honor the creative, innovative and practical strategies of UP units in responding to the pandemic’s unprecedented challenges and in ensuring the continuity of these programs and projects for the benefit of the different publics that the University serves,” he said. “This Gawad Pangulo is unique in that it distinguishes the initiatives that sought to address the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable sectors.”

After the moving welcome address from the President, the next speaker to formally welcome the 15 awardees was UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena E. Pernia. She began by saying that the Gawad Pangulo awards have come at the most appropriate time as the country, especially our healthcare system, has reached many low points going into the two years of the global pandemic. However, she did mention the positives that have come during these hard times.

UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia speaking during the awards ceremony. Screenshot by Raden Gerald Agustin, UPMPRO.

“As I say this, the country’s positivity rate is at a low 1.80%, with infections on the decline and several hospitals, including our own UP Philippine General Hospital, reporting no new COVID-19 cases in the past few days.” She even mentioned the rise in vaccination numbers, with 35% of the total Philippine population that have gotten their two dosages. Pernia then went on to proudly say that UP has played a vital role at the front of the country’s multi-sectoral pandemic response, and that this year’s Gawad Pangulo awards will give us a peek into the different innovative and effective responses against the COVID-19 pandemic, due to in large part to the selfless people from UP.

Following up Pernia are the head judges for this year’s Gawad Pangulo awards, all of whom are UP Professors Emeriti: former Vice President for Public Affairs Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay; Dr. Ma. Luisa T. Camagay; and former UP Visayas Chancellor Dr. Ida Josephine M. Siason. According to them, selecting this year’s awardees was both an easy yet difficult task. “Easy because it had a very timely focus—our university’s response to the COVID pandemic—but also difficult because we receive a large number of entries, each of them worthy and deserving in their own way,” said Dr. Dalisay.

During the presentation of the awards, the following awardees were recognized for their achievements, followed by a short message from officials from the different UP constituent units, such as UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla; UP Open University Chancellor Melinda dP. Bandalaria; UP Mindanao Vice Chancellor for Administration Karen Joyce G. Cayamanda; UP Los Baños Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr.; UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo; UP Baguio Chancellor Corazon L. Abansi; and UP Visayas Chancellor Clement C. Composano.

Here is the list of this year’s Gawad Pangulo for Excellence in Public Service awardees:

  • UP National Institutes of Health-National Telehealth Center for their “Stop COVID DEATHS Webinar Series: Clinical Management and Virtual Grand Rounds”. Watch the playlist of the 82 webinars under the “Stop COVID Deaths” series on the TVUP YouTube channel.
  • UP Manila College of Medicine for the UP Surgical Innovation and Biotechnology Program (UP SIBOL)
  • UP College of Medicine for the “Bayanihan Na! Operations Center”
  • UP Manila Philippine General Hospital for the UP PGH COVID TeleGabay Program
  • UP Open University for the “#OpenFight (Open Fight Against COVID-19)”
  • UP Mindanao School of Management for “SAVE Food Systems”
  • UP Los Baños for the establishment of the UPLB COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory (CMDL) under Task Force Laban ng Bayan Kontra COVID-19 (LB Kontra COVID-19)
  • UP Diliman College of Law for “Lingap Legal sa Panahon ng Pandemya”
  • UP Diliman for the UP Diliman COVID-19 Task Force
  • UP Diliman College of Engineering for the UP College of Engineering COVID-19 Response
  • UP Diliman Office of the Chancellor for the UP Diliman Psychosocial Services (UPD PsycServ)
  • UP Baguio College of Science of Mathematics and Computer Science and Office of Public Affairs for Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) of Baguio City COVID-19 cases: Daily updates
  • UP system Philippine Genome Center for COVID-19 Biosurveillance and Testing
UP Padayon Public Service Office Director Jeanette Yasol-Naval reiterating her office’s commitment to record, document and showcase public service initiatives across the UP System. Screenshot by Raden Gerald Agustin, UPMPRO.

In her closing remarks, UP Padayon Public Service Office Director, Dr. Jeanette Yasol-Naval, expressed the UP Padayon’s commitment to continue to record and document the public service initiatives of the various units across the UP System so as to recognize and showcase the outstanding service being rendered by UP to the nation and the world.

For those interested in learning more about these programs, watch the replay of the awards ceremony here.