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The year 2012 has set a new record in the history of international science and math competitions in the Philippines as the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) honors 308 elementary and high school students who has won gold, silver and bronze medals in the international arena. 

DOST-SEI Director Dr. Filma G. Brawner said that 2012 was a record feat for the Philippines being the year with the highest number of Filipino elementary and high school students who reap medals in international science and mathematics competitions in a year. 

All of the award winning students were given recognition by DOST with the Youth Excellence in Science (YES) Award, a DOST institutional award for exemplary achievement of the youth in the fields of science and mathematics and shall come in the form of a medal of distinction to be awarded by the Secretary of Science and Technology or the DOST Regional Director in a fitting ceremony toward the end of each year. 

During the YES Awarding ceremony held at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology auditorium in Diliman, Quezon City, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo lauded the students for marking such historic pour of medals in the international science and math contest scene. A total of 171 medalists from the National Capital Region were present during the ceremony. 

A total of 340 medals were brought home for the Philippines in various science and mathematics competitions abroad in 2012. 

This is the first time in the recognition program’s six-year history that the number of YES Awardees reached over 300. The previous high was 297 during 2009. 

Saint Jude Catholic School topped the number of schools with most medals with 22 won by 14 students while Grace Christian College came in close with 21 medals from 14 students. 

The students competed in contests in different countries such as Singapore, India, Romania, Malaysia, Argentina, Taiwan and China. 

In his message, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo congratulated the awardees and expressed optimism in the students’ capability to contribute soon in the science community. 

“[T]his gathering of winners simply boost my belief that with these students leading our charge, the future of the Philippines is as bright as the sun,” said Montejo. 

“I believe that our talent is far more sufficient to answer the needs of our people, be it of this generation or beyond,” he added. 

Brawner said it is “never easy to compete with the best of other nations” and was impressed of how the students beat the odds and win against their international counterparts. She also urged the awardees to maintain their thirst for excellence and affirmed that DOST-SEI shall persist in helping them reach their potential. 

“[L]et us prove to the world that we are achievers beyond competitions. You can do this by starting a pathway towards greatness in whatever S&T field you may choose. Being YES Awardees mean that you are more than capable to do that and I really hope to see you make names for yourselves in the sciences,” Brawner said. 

Meanwhile, Undersecretary for S&T Services Prof. Fortunato dela Peña encouraged the students to help in boosting the country’s drive for more innovations as a way towards development. 

“We believe that Filipinos can make good use of available knowledge, processes, and technologies into creating local innovations that will improve productivity of small and medium based industries, and resiliency of the general population against natural occurrences,” he said. “In doing these, we shall need the help of the brightest people in the country. An elite group of scientists, engineers, robotics experts, mathematicians, physicists, and others who could make science work for the benefit of the 100 million Filipinos.” 

“That elite group needs you. And you belong in that class,” dela Peña remarked.(30)