Caraga U graduate tops Forester board exams, 6 more take topnotcher spots

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Caraga State U Forestry board placers in Top 10
(Left to right) 1st placer Victor Lobrigas Corbita, Ailyn Mesias Dela Peña 3rd rank, 4th place is Edu Daamo Casugudan Jr; Helen Dahan Cuizon on the 5th spot; Liezel Asumbrado Cortejos and Marcelyn Dalaygon Lavilla tied the 7th place and John Michael Sumalo Moreno at the 9th spot of the Forestry Board Examinations. Photographed by Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon

Butuan City – A graduate from Caraga State University (CSU) here took the top spot in the September 2017 Forester board examination, for the second year in a row, with six other CSU students in the Top 10.

Posted in the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) website is the result of the exam conducted on September 12 and 13 in the cities of Manila, Baguio, Cagayan De Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Legazpi, Lucena, Pagadian, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga.

The tally indicated that 721 out of 1,482 (48.65%) examinees passed.

Caraga State U entrance
Photographed by Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon

The seven CSU students in the Top 10 are Victor Lobrigas Corbita, 1st, with a score of 91.20%. He is followed by Ailyn Mesias Dela Peña, at 3rd place with 90.85%; 4th is Edu Daamo Casugudan Jr, 90.40%; Helen Dahan Cuizon, 90.20%; Liezel Asumbrado Cortejos and Marcelyn Dalaygon Lavilla, 89.80% and John Michael Sumalo Moreno, 89.50%.

Corbita, 20, a fresh graduate who hails from the town of Barobo in Surigao del Sur, still has to shake off his disbelief.

“Although I figured I was good for, perhaps, fourth spot, the result was very unexpected, I never aimed to be Number One. I did not imagine all of this to happen. Taking the board exams was a challenge to prove myself, since two older siblings who took up Education did not make it. The pressure rested on my shoulder to give back to my parents who are farmers,” said Corbita.

3rd placer Dela Peña, who graduated Cum Laude, from Barangay Taligaman, Butuan City, passed together with her sibling.

“This is a great gift to my parents. Two of their children passed the exams together. For me, this is an achievement, as I had to pause and shift course because of financial difficulty. I finally opted for forestry because it was a more affordable option. There are four of us in college and then another sibling in Elementary, but I learned to love the course and never imagined I would reach this far,” she said.

4th placer Casugudan, of Barangay Gibunon in the town of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, expressed his happiness at being the first indigenous Higaonon to place fifth inn the forestry board exam.

“I still cannot quite accept the reality that I passed the board exams. The journey has been worth the struggle, it is with pride that I am one of the few. And to think I am a lumad, an Indigenous Person of the Higaonon tribe,” said Casugudan.

Dr Gerardo O. Kitche, the Forestry Dean and chairman of the Department of Natural Resources, said this was the first time in the Philippines that one school gave such a strong showing in the Forestry board exam: “We started producing top board passers in 2011, when we had graduates who ranked 6th and 9th. Then, in 2012, we had an 8th placer. In 2015 we produced a graduate who ranked 2nd. In 2016, we had four students who took the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 9th spots. And then this year, we ended up with seven students in the Top 10,” said Kitche.

In last year’s September 2016 exam, CSU graduate Cornelio Sacquiap Casilap Jr took first place with a score of 91.40%.

“Last year, the board of regents approved the incentives to be awarded to board topnotchers: The Number One spot would get PhP50,000; the 3rd, P30,000; the rest to receive P20,000. Plus, a separate incentive for the Department,” explained Dr. Teresita A. Atega, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Dr. Sonia Rosales-Low, the public relations and external affairs officer of CSU, pointed out that the recent board passers comprised a mix of fresh graduates and re-takers. “The school is preparing a big celebration for the achievement of our Forestry graduates.”

The University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) took top performing school honors, with 136 passers out of the 137 who took the exam, for a 99.27% passing percentage. Leading UPLB’s passers this year was Jaena Naejan Evangelista Tiongco, who placed second in the exam with a score of 90.90%.