My teacher, my hero!

Sep 25, 2016

I would wager that not too many of us are aware that we are in the final stretch of National Teachers' Month, which runs from September 5 to October 5. Presidential Proclamation No. 242 has declared this one-month period as such while Republic Act NO. 10743 declared the fifth day of October every year as the National Teachers' Day. Globally, October 5 is also celebrated as World Teachers' Day as declared by no less than the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

It was in 2011 that the National Teachers' Month was first observed in the Philippines, and I am glad that the heroism of our low-paid teachers, our second parents in more ways than one, has finally been recognized and given tribute. Various foundations have chosen to focus on other advocacies, but Metrobank Foundation focused on the teacher. They spearheaded this move with their "My Teacher, My Hero" campaign. Their logo featuring a student and teacher reading together to form a heart against the golden yellow background which has become the face of the foundation's advocacy campaign, is now very recognizable and has created a growing awareness here. But as early as 2008, Bro. Armin Luistro, then president of De La Salle University, got together with Metrobank Foundation Inc. president Aniceto Sobrepena spearhead the Teachers' Month Campaign.

They found an ally in President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III when P-Noy issued the presidential proclamation to observe the prescribed one month period as National Teachers' Month. Perhaps the President had good memories of his early years with his teachers, as many of us had. I have too many "favorites" among them to mention here, but suffice it to say that, thankfully, I had no traumatic experiences that could inflict scars on my emotional health. I'm glad that my own children also have a healthy respect for their own teachers, which speaks well of their early experiences. From grade school all the way to young adulthood, learning for me was pleasant and challenging, with a few minor skirmishes here and there as can be expected. My college years were no less pleasant, with some of my professors encouraging and mentoring me in performing arts as I tried my hand in theatre at my alma mater, University of Sto. Tomas.

The re-launching of the Teachers' Month Campaign after the initial efforts of De la Salle's Bro. Luistro and Metrobank Foundation's Aniceto Sobrepena resulted in the forming of a National Teachers' Month (NTM) Coordinating Council. Many sectors have joined in the advocacy of recognizing the efforts and appreciating the impact of teachers on the communities. The NTM Coordinating Council, composed of various government agencies, educational institutions, private companies and non-government organizations, worked hard towards engaging the public in appreciating the contributions of Filipino teachers in molding the Filipino youth. They had a common goal of validating the nobility of the teaching profession, no matter how lowly it pays. For many families, allowing one's son or daughter to pursue a career in teaching also means a lifetime of marginal earnings in the Philippines. However, the fact that we continue to have education graduates willing to carry the torch despite this reality is heart -warming and very gratifying. We also see how, for some young adults in far flung, God-forsaken areas here in the country, becoming a teacher is the culmination of their dreams and they will never trade it for a job in a call center, no matter the stark difference in pay.

The NTM Coordinating Council continues with its long-term goal which is "to create a strong movement that cultivates a Filipino culture that celebrates all teachers' service and heroism". They have made progress in the pursuit of their advocacy, involving more partners in the government and the private sector with a total of 532 initiatives enrolled in the NTM Calendar of Activities from 2012 to 2014. The steadily increasing number of participating organization continues to celebrate all Filipino teachers' service and heroism. They have made progress in the pursuit of their advocacy, involving more partners in the government and the private sector with a total of 532 initiatives enrolled in the NTM Calendar of Activities from 2012 to 2014. The number of participating organizations have also been increasing annuallys have also been increasing annually since 2008.

From 2012 to 2015, the National Teachers' Month campaign has also gained significant tri-media (covering print, broadcast and online) mileage amounting to over P600 million. Their Facebook engagement with the public has consistently widened to reach over 720,000 in 2015.

Perhaps the most significant validation of the campaign's impact is the invitations they have received to UNESCO Paris for the World Teachers' Day celebrations and an endorsement from UNESCO Philippines to submit in the prestigious Hamdan Prize for Education. UNESCO has extended two invitations for the event in Paris.

Let's make this a nationwide campaign to honor our Filipino teachers and recognize their efforts towards improving our communities and acknowledging their contributions towards national development. The National Teachers' Month campaign is gaining traction and has met much success in bringing together various sectors to work together towards realizing their goal of recognizing the herois of the Filipino teacher. Let's do our share.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

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About the Author

Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.

At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network's AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart's middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN's DZYL and DZQL.

From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.

In the early 70's, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).

In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports' living legend Pocholo Ramirez.

After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN's Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable's Channel 13.

The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport's hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.

In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry's latest technological developments.

In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star's business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.

Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.

Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)