Monday, July 15, 2024

Outstanding Silliman Awardees 2019: Embodiment of Via, Veritas, Vita

By Edan Sam Pancho & Henrie Angelie Tam | News Writers

Vol. XCI No. 5

Aug. 28, 2019

Every alumni of Silliman University (SU) have their own story of how SU has taught them the principles of “Via, Veritas, Vita.” Most give back to the university through service to the community and others take a step forward and exemplify the university’s motto through excellent and distinguished performance in their field of specialization, social responsibility or strong commitment to what is good, right, and just, and exemplary personal life and relationships.

“The kind of service that Silliman teaches is genuine and selfless… It is the type of service that just gives, and continues to give, even if it hurts,” said Atty. Myrish Cadapan-Antonio in her response message after receiving the award. She has been honored along with five other alumni in conferral rites at the 2019 Outstanding Sillimanian Awards (OSA) on Aug. 28 at the Luce Auditorium.

The awardees are Dr. Ben S. Malayang III in the environment and academic leadership; Moses L. Alcala in applied environmental geology; Dr. Jonathan C. Amante in medical services development; Atty. Myrish Cadapan-Antonio in global leadership; Rev. Dr. Al B. Fuentes in conflict transformation and peace-building; and Dr. Leonilo B. Oliva in educational service.

Dr. Jonathan C. Amante

Dr. Jonathan C. Amante, founding dean of SU Medical School, made a difference in the delivery of health care services in Negros Oriental and neighboring provinces in the last 30 years.

He proudly announced that ever since the opening of the SU Medical School in 2005, the medical board exam results have been a constant 100% passing rate. He also proclaimed the medical school to be the country’s top ninth performing school of medicine. According to him, 215 physicians have emerged at the SU Medical School. One of his goals was to provide “state of the art facilities” for graduates of medicine.

He led several initiatives in those areas having successfully established the following: an Accredited Residency Training Program in Internal Medicine for a SU Medical Center-Holy Child Hospital consortium; the SU Medical School aims to produce competent physicians guided by Christian principles; the Dumaguete Medical Laboratory with three branches and the first dialysis unit at SUMC and Holy Child Hospital; a private hospital, Allied Clinical Experts (ACE) to help solve the lack of hospital beds in present hospitals in Dumaguete.

Rev. Dr. Al B. Fuentes

Rev. Dr. Al Fuentes is the associate professor of peacemaking and conflict resolution at George Mason University in Fairfax and the covenant minister of the United Church of Christ in Wellspring, Virginia. Yet as attested by fellow Sillimanians in the US, he is internationally recognized for his practical expertise and not because he teaches the subject at George Mason University. He has worked in conflict areas in the Balkans, East, and Central Africa, all over Asia, Canada, and the US.

Despite venturing towards places of war and destruction, Rev. Dr. Fuentes shared that “my God has never left me hopeless.” His source of inspiration is also his late mother, whom he credits that he learned from persistence and living a faithful life.

He was first hired by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in 2005 to facilitate conflict
prevention workshops among displaced populations of Cotabato and Bukidnon, and went on to other conflict resolution missions, among the latest being another CRS job to
facilitate post-conflict healing and transformation in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2017.

Dr. Leonilo B. Oliva

Dr. Leonilo Oliva is the director of the Office of Scholarship of the University of Cebu and is concurrently a consultant on the education of the Office of the Mayor of Lapu-Lapu City. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in industrial education as a working student at SU, continuing to pursue his MA in education degree and starting a long and successful career in education administration initially with some colleges, universities, and foundations in Cebu and Cotabato and then with the Philippine Department of Education – Regions 7 and 8.

To him, Silliman is his dream school. With hard work and dedication, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in the university and earned the award of being one of the Outstanding Sillimanian Awardees for his service.

Dr. Ben S. Malayang III

Dr. Ben S. Malayang III served as the twelfth president of SU. During his term from 2006 until 2018, he strengthened the university within the framework of the 5Cs: Church, Classroom, Culture, Court, and Community.

An environmental scientist and educator, he has led several research and action projects and authored publications on environmental policy and governance, security, philosophy and ethics, as well as on biodiversity and institutional and environmental transformations of Southeast Asia. Prior to heading SU, Dr. Malayang was dean of the School of Environmental Science and Management of the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB). He also served as the undersecretary of the Department of  Environment and Natural Resources.

According to him, due to the unpredictability of years ahead, especially with climate change and the evolution of education, upholding the title of being an Outstanding Sillimanian would be difficult. However, as long as Silliman will withstand and uphold its values, he believes that he will be empowered and carry on.

Mr. Moses L. Alcala

Mr. Moses L. Alcala is a US-based environmental geologist. He is president of the Environmental and Geotechnical Services in Fairfield, New Jersey. A certified professional geologist in two other states, he is a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) – the highest level of an environmental professional and consultant in the state of New Jersey.

He obtained his degree in Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geology from the University of the Philippines Diliman and degree of Master of Arts (MA) in Geology from the City University of New York. Despite earning his degree at a different college, Mr. Alcala still
claims that he is a Sillimanian at heart. As a petroleum geologist in the 1980s, he has led
teams in the study and exploration of petroleum basins in the Philippines. As an environmental geologist in the US, he has handled the environmental investigation and cleanup of over 400 sites in the states of New Jersey and New York.

He has been involved in environmental organizations and advocacy in the United States and the Philippines. He continues to be involved in sharing his expertise in environmental geology and conservation to Dumagueteños, including presenting Balik- talent lectures on a regular basis. He credits the university for molding him to what he is now, “My Silliman experience has made me what I am and has guided me throughout my journey.”

Atty. Myrish Cadapan-Antonio

Atty. Myrish Cadapan-Antonio is the director of fellowship and leadership at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Center for Public Leadership in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A former deputy legal counsel and director of the Dr. Jovito Salonga Center for Law and Development of SU, Atty. Cadapan-Antonio had trained further in international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and education reform. Among her many awards are the Most Outstanding Silliman Law Alumnus award, HKS Lucius N. Littauer award for academic excellence, HKS Raymond and Josephine Vernon award for academic distinction, and Philippines 21 Young Leaders award.

Atty. Cadapan-Antonio shared her Silliman experience, one of which is her first encounter with her husband. She reminisced her time campaigning for her husband, at that time she was helping him run for the presidency of the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG). The result was the “greatest voter turnout history” that the student government has witnessed until this day. In her speech, she shared that being exposed to Silliminians from both her parents and her husband, gave lay her foundations for “integrity, humility, hard work, equity, inclusion and kindness,” being a Silliminian encouraged her to explore new horizons and succeed by making more mistakes.

The six awardees who best exemplify SU’s principles of ”Via, Veritas, Vita” (The Way, The Truth, and The Life) were chosen from nominations submitted by SU alumni chapters in the Philippines and abroad. A highlight of the Founders Day celebration, the yearly OSA conferral ceremony is attended by Silliman students, faculty, staff, administrators, and guests as well as by the awardees’ family, friends, and members of the nominating SU Alumni chapter. Aside from the Outstanding Sillimanian awardees, recognition was also given to the heritage builders of the university.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest articles