In recognition of the service of the support staff of the University of Santo Tomas, the 12th Hiyas ng UST (Gem of UST) Awards was held on May 3, 2019, at the UST Medicine Auditorium. With the theme “Mga Kawaning Tomasino: Kaagapay sa Paghubog ng Kabataan sa Katotohanan at Pag-ibig,” (Thomasian Workers: Aiding in Molding the Youth in Truth and Love) this year’s recognition program was in consonance with the 2019 Year of the Youth declared by the Philippine Catholic Church as part of its nine-year preparation for the quincentennial anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in 2021.
Prior to the presentation of awards, the UST Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., served as the main presider in the Eucharistic Celebration concelebrated with the Dominican Fathers.
In the Father Rector’s homily, he commended the support staff for their hard work, saying that,”Kasama kayo sa pagtataguyod ng mga kabataan patungo sa kabanalan, at iyon naman talaga ang adhikain at gawain ng mga kawani sa Unibersidad. Hindi lamang ang academic units ang dahilan kung bakit ang produkto ng Unibersidad ay mahuhusay at magagaling, sapagkat mayroon din tayong mahusay at magagaling na mga kawani.” (You are part of the formation of youth towards holiness, and that is exactly the mission and responsibility of the University’s support staff. It is not only the academic units that are the reasons why the students produced by the University are excellent and exceptional, it is also because we have similarly superb staff.)
Citing Mary Catherine Hilkert’s book, “Naming Grace,” the Father Rector reminded the staff that there are only three ways by which they could serve as the hand of God: ‘life is worth living,’ ‘people are worth loving,’ and ‘Christ is worth following.’
Fr. Dagohoy concluded his homily with his hope that the Thomasian workers would not only keep these in mind, but also guide students with these principles. He also thanked them and congratulated those who were to receive awards.
Formally opening the Awards was the welcome remarks of UST Vice Rector and Manpower Committee Chair Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P. Addressing those who will receive the awards, he said, “Ang karangalan na ito ay may kaakibat na responsibilidad: simula sa araw na ito, kayo ay magsisilbing huwaran para sa inyong kapwa empleyado. Lagi po sana ninyong tatandaan, ang mabuting gawa ay kapuri-puri na kinalulugdan ng ating Panginoon.” (The honors you will receive hold an equal weight of responsibilities: from this day forward, you shall serve as examples for your fellow employees. I hope that you will always remember that God looks favorably on good deeds.)
Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., Fr. Ang emphasized that, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
Four employees were named Most Outstanding Employees for AY 2018-2019 under the following categories: Skilled, Technical, Professional Administrative and Professional Academic. Awarded under the Skilled Category was St. Joseph the Worker Awardee and 2009 MOE Mr. Rafael Travilla from the Miguel de Benavides Library; for Technical Category, awarded was Mr. Ronaldo Pera from the College of Nursing. For the Professional Category, which was recently subdivided into Professional Administrative and Professional Academic, Ms. Maria Victoria Contreras from the Counseling and Career Center and Ms. Consuelo Pardiñez from the Faculty of Pharmacy were recognized. UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., and UST Vice Rector Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., presented the MOE Award trophy and tokens. For this year, 123 members of the support staff were nominated to the Most Outstanding Employee award.
For this year, five employees were recipients of the St. Joseph the Worker Award. The award, presented by Support Staff Chaplain Rev. Fr. Reynaldo J. Adalid, Jr., O.P., and Samahang Manggagawa President Mr. Restituto D. Llamas, is given to employees who have not been late for work and have not availed of any sick leave, emergency leave, vacation leave, or birthday leave from December 2017 until November 2018. Recipients were: Ms. Abigail Martha Abelardo from the SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office, who also received the Service Award for 10 years; Mr. Romie Robert Cultura from the Faculty of Pharmacy, who also won the same Award in 2017; Mr. Joel Ovejera from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, who received the same award for the fourth consecutive year; Mr. Alvin Taypa from the UST-AMV College of Accountancy; and Mr. Rafael Travilla from the Miguel de Benavides Library, who also won the same award in 2011 and 2014.
The service awardees comprised of 12 support staff members who were recognized for 10 years of service, 21 for 20 years of service, 12 for 25 years of service, nine for 30 years of service, and 17 for 35 years of service to the University. Mrs. Marilou J. Simbul from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery was the lone recipient of the Gawad Paglilingkod (Service Award) for 40 years of service. A total of 72 comprised this year’s Service Awardees.
Ms. Aiko Gracielle G. Austral of the Center for Religious Studies and Ethics received the Natatanging Gawad (Special Achievement Award) for passing the September 2018 Librarian Licensure Examinations.
One hundred and twenty seven members of the support staff received the Punctuality Award for consistently being at work on time within the period of December 2017 to November 2018.
Human Resource Department Director and Hiyas ng UST Awards Selection Committee Chair Atty. Jacqueline O. Lopez-Kaw, Ll.M., presented the new mobile application of the UST Support Staff Access Portal (USSAP) to the audience. A joint venture by HRD and the Santo Tomas e-Service Providers (STePs), the USSAP App is currently available for download on the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. Presently at its initial stage of use, employees can access their personal profile, attendance records, payslip, downloadable forms, and copies of policies, procedures, and other memoranda circulated by the HRD. In a forthcoming update, the interactive features of the app that will allow for filing of leave and change of schedule will be released.