2013 The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers Named

The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers of 2013 with Vice Commanders of each branch of service, organizers, and members of the final board of judges: (Seating from left) Major General Raul Gabriel Dimatatac AFP, Major General Essel Soriano AFP, Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna, Aniceto M. Sobrepeña, The Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gregorio Macapagal AFP, VAdm Mateo M. Mayuga (ret), His Excellency Ivo Sieber, and Rear Admiral Edgardo Tamayo. (Standing from left) Colonel Romeo S. Brawner, Jr., Chief Master Sergeant Rogelio J. Mendoza, Technical Sergeant Ferdinand S. Baladjay, Captain Vicente L. Cejoco, Technical Sergeant Dante P. Berganio, Hospitalman Third Class (Sergeant) Sergs E. Estropigan,  Lieutenant Colonel Moises L. Micor., Master Sergeant Alberto A. Pesebre, Technical Sergeant Nolito E. Tumesa and  Major Daneck E. Dang-awan

Ten Commissioned and Non-Commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines made it to this year’s winners of the Search for The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS). The announcement was made by the Metrobank Foundation and the Rotary Club of Makati Metro during a Press Conference at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The winners from the Philippine Army are: Colonel Romeo S. Brawner, Jr., Chief Master Sergeant Rogelio J. Mendoza and Technical Sergeant Ferdinand S. Baladjay. On the other hand, the winners from the Philippine Navy are: Captain Vicente L. Cejoco, Technical Sergeant Dante P. Berganio (Marines), and Hospitalman Third Class (Sergeant) Sergs E. Estropigan.  Lieutenant Colonel Moises L. Micor., Master Sergeant Alberto A. Pesebre and Technical Sergeant Nolito E. Tumesa are the winners from the Philippine Air Force. Meanwhile, Major Daneck E. Dang-awan, from the Technical & Administrative Services – Chaplain Service completes this year’s batch of winners.

“More than being the private sector’s expression of gratitude for the sacrifices of our soldiers, this recognition also highlights the contributions of the men and women of the military, as vanguards of peace and democracy, to nation building and development,” Mr. Aniceto Sobrepeña, Metrobank Foundation president said.

The awardees were selected by a multi-sectoral Preliminary and Final Board of Judges. Preliminary Board of Judges were: Chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Chairperson of the Negotiating Panel with the MNLF of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process; Major General (ret) Renato M. Garcia, Executive Director of the Help Educate and Rear Orphans (HERO) Foundation, Inc.; Brigadier General (ret) Fermin R de Leon Jr, PhD, President of the National Defense College of the Philippines; Mr. Jiggy Manicad, Senior News Producer of GMA Network, Inc.; Hon. Ma. Victoria V. Cardona, Commissioner of Commission on Human Rights; Ms. Maxine Tanya M. Hamada, Executive Director of International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov); Ms. Joy Aceron, Program Director of Ateneo School of Government-Government Watch (ASoG G-Watch) and Mr. Gerry C. Baja, News Anchor of DZMM, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

The Final Board of Judges that chose this year’s winners was chaired by Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna, Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy. Members of the final board are: Mr. Alfredo E. Pascual, President of University of the Philippines System; Mr. Melito S. Salazar, Jr., President of Management Association of the Philippines; Most Rev. Florentino F. Cinense, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Tarlac; Ms. Tina Monzon-Palma, Program Director of Bantay Bata 163 Sagip Kapamilya; Ms. Amina Rasul-Bernardo, President of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy; and His Excellency Ivo Sieber,   Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Swiss Confederation.

“Talking to individual finalists tells us that there is a lot of humanity behind each soldier,” said UP President Alfredo E. Pascual. “It is very comforting to know for a civilian like me that we are producing these kinds of soldiers. I am very impressed with the commitment of our soldiers to their duty to the people and our country,” he continued.

Among this year’s awardee is an enlisted personnel of Philippine Navy, Hospitalman Third Class Sergs E. Estropigan, Technical Diver and Seal Operator at the Naval Diving Salvage Unit 1 of Philippine Fleet, was awarded by the President, His Excellency Benigno Simeon C. Aquino the “Bakas Parangal ng Kagitingan Award”. He received this for demonstrating an exemplary sense of volunteerism, courage and perseverance as technical driver and chamber operator of the Search and Rescue Team who have showed a collective effort to locate our two (2) missing pilots of the ill-fated SF-260TP # 716 that crashed landed near the cost of Mariveles Bataan on 18 May 2012. Also, the award was given for his utmost dedication and wholehearted effort in conducting the successful search, rescue and retrieval operations under Task Force KALIHIM to late DILG Secretary Jesse M Robredo.

Another awardee this year is Lieutenant Colonel Moises L. Micor who was awarded the Gold Cross Medal for gallantry in action during the first burst of attack of the MNLF at the 104th BDE and Camp Budato on 19 November 2001. The flight was very instrumental in the camp defense of the 104th Brigade and Camp Budatu where he assisted in the extrication of 5 WIAs, 2 KIAs of the beleaguered 1st Scout Ranger Battalion (1SRBN) despite a seriously damaged aircraft. The accurate and timely delivery of close air support suppressed the enemy from inflicting more casualties on government troops and strengthened the will of the ground troops to fight.

For the past 14 years, the Metrobank Foundation, along with the Rotary Club of Makati Metro, annually holds the Search for TOPS to honor the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces who go beyond expectations, and to highlight their achievements and efforts toward nation building and development. All previous TOPS awardees are now members of the TOPS alumni organization named “The Organization of Philippine Soldiers with Outstanding Leadership, Dedication, Integrity, Excellence, and Responsibility to Society” or TOPSOLDIERS.

The awardees will be honored together with the winners of the Search for Outstanding Teachers (SOT) and Country’s Outstanding Police Officers in Service (COPS) dubbed as Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos on September 5, 2013 as highlight of Metrobank’s anniversary celebration. Each winner will receive a cash prize of P300, 000 and a specially designed trophy from the Metrobank Foundation.


Established on January 8, 1979 by George S. K. Ty, sixteen (16) years after he founded the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank), the Metrobank Foundation is engaged in social development projects in the Philippines and other parts of Asia. As the corporate social responsibility arm of the Metrobank Group, the Foundation implements various programs in education, visual arts and healthcare. It also maintains an active and dynamic partnership with other organizations that likewise provide services for the disadvantaged. Among the Foundation’s flagship programs are the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE), Search for Outstanding Teachers (SOT), College Scholarship Program (CSP), Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC), The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS), and Country’s Outstanding Police Officers in Service (COPS). In 2012, it launched its newest recognition program that recognizes excellence in Philippine journalism, the Search for Journalists of the Year (JOY).It also supports programs aimed at educating the citizenry on public-interest issues through research and lectures given by the distinguished holders of the Metrobank Foundation Professorial Lecture established by the Foundation in partnership with reputable educational institutions. The Foundation is also the majority owner of the Manila Doctors Hospital (MDH), one of the leading centers of wellness in the country.