Outstanding Bicol students search to name top finalists

CREAM OF THE CROP. The student finalists face the local media for discussion/interviews.


LEGAZPI CITY --- A bill in Congress that seeks to lower the age for criminal liability from 15 years old to 9 years old was met with disapproval by finalists to the search for “10 Outstanding Students for Bicol,” or TOSB.

The finalists, who were selected by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Ako Bicol Partylist representatives from among nominees from various private and state colleges and universities in the Bicol region, gave their views on a wide range of legislative measures currently being debated on in Congress during interview sessions held with Albay-based media practitioners last week.

The mediamen, most of them affiliated with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, and working for provincial, regional and national media outfits, are engaged in multi-media platforms such as print, radio, television, social media and online.

TOBS opened its search for Bicolano students enrolled in different higher education institutions, within and outside of the Bicol region, who have shown exemplary performance in scholarship, leadership and service.

Among the 20 finalists, 17 were against the proposed bill while 2 are in favor and 1 is absent.

Like most of his co-finalists in the search, Dan Mark Paniterce, a student of Bachelor of Science in Food Management from Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, believes that lowering the minimum age for criminal liability to 9 years old is not appropriate and timely.

“We are not yet ready, we don’t have enough facilities that is funded and well-equipped for the children who are arrested,” argued Paniterce.

Paniterce said lawmakers must focus first on addressing the issue on poverty since criminality is associated with poverty. “Maybe those children are exposed to criminality because of poverty,” the student finalist added.

Meanwhile, Karen Kay Bagacina of University of Saint Anthony asserted that “children in conflict with law are not considered as prisoners.

“They will be put in a Bahay Pag-asa by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) wherein they will undergo seminars and trainings in order to renew themselves,” Bagacina added.

Bagacina believed that with the lowering of age of criminality, children will be safer for those adults using children as medium in committing crimes.

The final 10 winners to the annual search that was first introduced in 2009 will be chosen after series of panel interview and essay writing.

CHED and AKB said TOSB aims to recognize the hard work and contribution of Bicolano students in local and national development, a vision shared by the two award-giving bodies.

The 20 finalists to the search are:

In Iriga City, University of Northeastern Philippines or UNEP—Karla Marie Daza; Jane Menchie Lucena; Amira Toni Jo Dacillo; Allan Rey Gecoso of the University of Northeastern Philippines (UNEP, of Iriga City); and Jason Perez, Hazel Monte, Toni Venessa No, Karey Kay Bagacina, and Archie Bulalacao of the University of Saint Anthony, also of Iriga City).

Dan Mark Paniterce of Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges;

Ruby Jane Bandola and Mary Grace Basbas, both of the University of Nueva Caceres (UNC) in Naga City and Frenchie Apring of Mariners Polytechnic Colleges, Naga Campus;

Shaina Mae Benavidez of Catanduanes State University (CSU) from Catanduanes;

Marialle Cheska Oclos and Joshua Andrada of University of Sto. Tomas –Legazpi and Christine Joy Gipit of Bicol University, all of Legazpi City;

Rodly Marcelo of Ligao Community College, Mark Ll. Miraflor of Daraga Community College, and Jobert Ronabio of Partido State University, Goa, Camarines Sur.

The final 10 winners in the search will be chosen on the basis of scholarship (3 points), leadership (2 points) service (2 points), and essay/interview (3 points).