One of 2011’s bronze medalists in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) topped this year’s Philippine Mathematical Olympiad (PMO). 

Henry Jefferson Morco of Chiang Kai Shek College won First Place, taking home P15,000 while his coach, Frederick Buiza, got P5,000. Morco won last year’s bronze in the IMO together with Carmela Antoinette Lao and Vance Eldric Go of Saint Jude Catholic School. The Philippines’ medal haul last year was the country’s largest ever since it joined the hardest mathematics competition in the world. 

Mikaela Angelina Uy of Saint Jude Catholic School bagged Second Place where she also got a cash prize of P10,000 while her coach Myron Baccay won P3,000. 

Completing the top three winners is Kenneth Co of Philippine Science High School – Main Campus who finished Third Place and got a P5,000 cash prize while his coach, Fortunato Tacuboy III, obtained P2,000. 

The three top winners together with the 17 other national finalists will undergo training this summer to determine the Philippine contingent to the 53rd IMO which will be held in Mar de Plata, Argentina on July 2012.

The PMO is the country’s oldest and most challenging mathematics competition and is being organized by the Mathematical Society of the Philippines (MSP) in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI). 

DOST-SEI Director Dr. Filma G. Brawner expressed her salutations to the winners as she praised them for their feat. 

“Beating out 3,596 high school students from all over the country and being on the national finals of the oldest and most challenging mathematics competition in the country is a feat in itself and I applaud you for your accomplishment,” she said. 

Brawner said the bigger challenge, however, is utilizing the gains of the PMO in uplifting the quality of basic education in the Philippines. 

“We know that given a very good foundation, we will have a large pool of students and math enthusiasts who will immerse themselves in math exercises and activities,” she said. 

Brawner expressed hope that as the nation braces for the implementation of the K-12 curriculum, the Department of Education will take a closer look at the Mathematics Framework for Philippine Basic Education that seeks to provide students with mathematical empowerment, harnessing their understanding of the fundamental ideas of numbers and number concepts, measurement, geometry, probability, data analysis, patterns, functions and algebra. 

“With its catalytic role in effecting change in the landscape of science education in the Philippines, the Science Education Institute, in partnership with the Philippine Council for Mathematics Teacher Education, came up with the Mathematics Framework for Philippine Basic Education, in a bid to present to curriculum developers, teachers, school administrators and policy makers a conceptual structure that will help students treasure the value of learning and see the importance of mathematics in daily life,” she said. 

The PMO is a great boost to DOST-SEI’s mandate of creating a pool of future scientists and engineers in the country as it uncovers the vast potential that the Philippines has in terms of mathematical ability and entice them to pursue S&T careers when they reach college through the scholarship programs the agency offers. (30)