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Baguio to recognize four outstanding citizens for 2019
by Public Information Office

The awarding of four esteemed individuals will highlight this year’s Baguio Charter Day celebrations program, Sept.1, when the city government recognizes their exceptional contributions to the development and growth of Baguio and its people.

The awardees are being feted for the initiatives they have undertaken in their respective sectors – community and professional services.

They are Dr. Maria Socorro Sarfati; Raquel Fausto Verzosa; Albert Fermin Guinguino, Jr.; and Engr. Salvador Royeca.

The awardees were chosen from a long list of nominees submitted to the Society of Outstanding Citizens of Baguio (Socob) and have undergone several stages of screening and evaluation.

They were also interviewed by a panel of judges, composed, among others, of Socob members.

This year’s Charter Day celebration banners the theme, “Nurturing the environment for sustainable development.”



Dr. Ma. Socorro Florendo Sarfati
Professional Service

 

Physician par excellence
Baguio-born physician Ma. Socorro Florendo Sarfati has lived and worked up to her name’s meaning (from Spanish origins) to “succor, help or relief” in giving comfort to patients suffering from pain, specifically of neurological illnesses.

As a Biology student, she was academically excellent, graduating as magna cum laude at the University of the Philippines-Baguio, in preparation for medical school at the competitive and highly selective UP College of Medicine in Manila.

After hurdling the medical board exams and trainings, she had her post graduate internship at the Philippine General Hospital. By 1992, she was neurology resident at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) after which, hometown service beckoned with the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) needing her services.

Dr. Sarfati has initiated the Adult Neurology Training Program in Baguio, the first outside Metro Manila. An immediate past president of the Philippine Neurological Association, she is currently the secretary of the Philippine Headache Society and Press Relation Officer of the Stroke Society of the Philippines, among other groups.

Dr. Sarfati is the former chairman of the Department of Neurology at the BGHMC.

Her primary concern is providing immediate attention to stroke and neurology-related problems. As such, she is the primary mover in setting up the first Stroke Unit at BGHMC. She also shares her knowledge through outreach seminars for awareness in the prevention of stroke and neurological health. She focuses on critical and stroke care, and controversies in neurology, while training medical students in the same field.

Upgrading of facilities and services for stroke victims through the good lady doctor must be recognized, nominator for Dr. Sarfati, Dr.Priscilla Supnet-Macansantos, noted.

In 2013, she earned a certificate at the Headache Master School of International Headache Society in Tokyo, Japan. In 2018, she attended the Stroke Master Class in Bangkok and Vietnam.

Serving the people at BGHMC for 25 years, she was commended for the creation of the stroke unit, recognized for outstanding achievement in the field of Medicine and was a nominee for the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award recently.

She is married to Leon Sarfati and blessed with three children – Adria, Isabel, and Katja. #



Engr. Salvador Milag Royeca
Professional Service

 

Shaped by water
Baguio Water District General Manager Salvador Royeca’s career was shaped by water, so to speak.

He had been employed with the BWD since the 1980s, first as an audit inspector to support his studies in civil engineering. He was later promoted as audit supervisor.

Deciding to pursue his career path in the water district, Royeca pursued further studies in environment and sanitary engineering and tucked in a master’s degree. This paved the way for further promotions first as a division manager, then as a department manager, and later as the assistant general manager for technical operations.

In 2013, he took over as the general manager of the water district and immediately went to work, implementing reforms to address the perennial water shortage problem of the bustling Baguio metropolis.

Under his tight watch, several impact projects were expedited, including two of the district’s most ambitious ventures – the rehabilitation of the two-hectare Mount Sto. Tomas rain catchment basin in Tuba, Benguet that ensures sustainable water supply to over 30 percent of consumers in southern and central Baguio and the completion of the modern BWD building, which translates to better service to the district’s highland consumer base. 

Other notable water supply development projects in the works are the construction of the Busol rainwater harvesting facilities with a capacity of 63,000 cubic meters, which will augment the supply in Aurora Hill and Pacdal areas, the bulk water supply project through the Bandiwan Silver Springs to provide an additional 2,000 to 5,000 cubic meters daily to Marcos Highway, and the well-drilling initiatives at Military Cut-off, Busol Tiptop and South Drive, all of which have been completed and at Pinesville Subd.

Under Royeca’s tutelage, the district also implemented watershed management and protection initiatives like the perimeter fencing of the watershed as deterrent to informal settlers, construction of recharge ditches, elimination of illegal connections and promotion of the adopt-a-watershed program and tree-planting activities.

Non-revenue water management and reduction initiatives, distribution line extensions, automation of operations and the sustainment of the corporate social responsibility through the donation of water storage facilities were also adopted.

As a leader, Royeca is hands-on. He is a stickler for perfection, self-reliance, resilience, hard work, and commitment.

In every post he held, he leaves a mark with the melding of his technical know-how in utility resources and knowledge in human resource management producing effective programs and a motivated workforce.

Royeca’s drive and commitment to fulfill the department’s social obligation to deliver adequate and safe drinking water bore fruit when the Department of Health finally issued a certificate of acceptance to the district’s water safety plan.

He also clinched for the district the Best Regional Training Center award and DOH-accredited laboratory in 2018, the Huwarang Lingkod-Tubig Award for Best Corporate Social Responsibility Programs this year.

Indeed, Royeca’s success is built on water and he pays it forward by harnessing that same formless lifeline through effective utilization and management programs to shape the future of the city he serves with unquenchable thirst. #


Albert Fermin Guinguino, Jr.
Community Service

 

Versatile volunteer
When it comes to community service, there is no such thing as spreading oneself too thin.

Albert Fermin Guinguino, Jr. proved this in his myriad of voluntary exploits that span environmental, public-social service, education, religious, and other causes.

Driven by passion and commitment, this former seminarian-turned teacher is a volunteer radio broadcaster, a volunteer for worthy causes, devotes time, talent, and resources for information and socio-civic intents.

As an educator, he does service through integration of instruction and mobilization of students to sustained involvement in community program like the National Service Training Program (NSTP) and the Community Extension and Outreach Programs Office.

As a volunteer radio broadcaster, his airtime is devoted to community-relevant concerns. To him, news, commentaries, music, reports, and other media resources must have direct bearing to community development and mobilization. He introduced and sustained radio programs that deal on sectoral concerns like indigenous peoples and culture, academe, farming, fishing, mining, and religion, among others.

As an environmental advocate, he was involved in the reforestation of the Buyog watershed, Forbes Park, and other parks all over the city. He lobbied for the passage of the city’s Environment Code and mobilized the cleaning of graffiti vandalized walls and structures.

For his contributions for the upkeep of peace and order, he mobilized NSTP students as force multipliers in peacekeeping efforts during main tourist events and organized lectures on crime, drug abuse and terrorism prevention. He is an active member of the regional police and several municipal advisory councils, dedicated adviser of police units, and has contributed in the development of police operation strategies and public service programs.

His extensive community involvement and mobilization skills extends to the sectors of health through the organization of blood donation drives, lectures on diseases and advocacies against smoking, and social welfare through assistance in the conduct of fund-raising campaigns and working out scholarship programs for the marginalized and through engagement of the youth in social work.

On top of these, Guinguino immerses himself in other community programs through linkages and collaborations with various affiliations, sectors, institutions, and agencies often with the use of his own resources.

With his diverse and numerous community engagements, Guinguino could choose to retire his volunteer hat at this time but with service entrenched in his being, it is doubtful that he will ever do so. #


Racquel Fausto Verzosa
Community Service

 

Indefatigable trainer, author, and entreprenuer
Outstanding citizen awardee Racquel Fausto Verzosa served as a flight attendant for several years before settling down with husband, Ari, bearing five children namely Chelsea, Kahlil, Keanu, Yuri, and eldest daughter, Kylie, who was crowned Miss International in 2016.

Raising a family, however, came side by side running a business, being an accredited skills trainer, acquiring a master’s degree with latin honors, writing several books, writing for a business magazine, and an instructor in two universities.

Born in Manila, Verzosa, who finished her degree in Communication Arts at St. Paul University in 1985, is also an entrepreneur aside from being a skills trainer-cum assessor. She manages Forest House Bistro and Café for 18 years now, which was acknow-ledged by Philippine Tatler as “One of the Philippine’s Best,” for the past 12 years. The business has since grown into a bed and breakfast accommodation with certified loyal repeat customers.

Verzosa oversees her Forest House staff workers of at least 40, making sure that customer service is at par with international standards. For this, she undergoes methodology trainings with service providers including that of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority.

She is also a speaker and mentor/coach in tourism and Go Negosyo summits, a national entrepreneurship program in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry. The program provides training to small and medium enterprise business owners or potential business owners.

In keeping with the times, too, she has moved on from being an entrepreneur to a sought-after trainer and assessor through the Forest House Assessment and Training Center, Inc., in coordination with Tesda since 2017. A national certificate (NCII) is given to candidates who are skilled at certain qualifications, most of who were personally trained and assessed by Verzosa. An NC is a proof of skill and allows the student-trainees to find jobs easily.

Last year, she offered skills and livelihood training for survivors and victims of the fatal landslide in Itogon, Benguet where the NCII skills learned in the tourism and hospitality industry serve as instruments for survival and resiliency.

Before this however, she taught Professional Development and English for Hospitality and Tourism for five years at the University of Baguio School of International Hotel and Tourism Management, and was ranked as outstanding professor by the administration.

At the University of the Cordilleras-College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, she taught Travel and Tours and Airline Management Operations courses.

On Aug. 9, 2018, she topped the exam for National Capital Region examiners given by the Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Professionals, hosted by the United Kingdom while she was awarded as one of the Outstanding Women Leaders of Baguio in March.

She has published three books through Phoenix Publishing, one in 2014 and two in 2016 entitled “English for Hospitality and Tourism,” “Local Guiding Services,” and “Travel Services.” These books are being used by universities and senior high schools.

With her family too, Verzosa advocates mental health awareness; where she speaks as a mental health campaign caregiver. Reaching out to family members who struggle from forms of mental disorder, she and her family spread awareness on the stigma of such disorder, which may push one to the brink of suicide. “Each life is precious,” she points out. #

Other news
:: Making Baguio a healthy happy urbanized city
:: Baguio traffic situation, updates, and suggestion
:: Giving premium to the youth as partners for a better Baguio
:: Baguio – the origin of a geographical name
:: Baguio: Where every piece of land is valuable
:: Chasing Baguio’ dream as ‘Safe and Smart City’
:: Looking forward to a sustainable & responsible tourism for Baguio
:: A dream Baguio public market in the making
:: Realizing initiatives for Baguio City’s grand rehabilitation
:: The need to innovate towards a disaster – resilient Baguio
:: Sustaining Baguio City as educational capital of the north
:: Local governance in the time of social media
:: Baguio, as a ‘high–tech’ city, vies for efficient, fast services

Philippine National Police – Police Regional Office – CAR
R.A Gapuz Review Center

Baguio Central University
Baguio Country Club
Benguet Electric Cooperative Inc.
Congressman Mark Go
Data Center of the Philippines of Baguio City, Inc.
Department of Health – CAR
Kings’ College of the Philippines
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong
Pines City Colleges
Sangguniang Panlungsod
SiTEL
SM City Baguio
Social Security System
Veterans Bank

Albergo Hotel and Residences
Baguio Center Mall
Baguio Water District
C & Triple A Supermart
Congressman Nestor B. Fongwan
Curamed Pharmacy
Department of Agriculture – CAR
Department of Environment and Natural Resources – CAR
Ganza & Solibao Restaurants
GMS Technology
Governor Melchor D. Diclas
John Hay Management Corporation
Mayor Romeo K. Salda
MMS Development Training Center Corporatino
Mother Earth Deli Basket
Philipppine Science High School
Regional Development Council – CAR
Sutherland

 



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