Math whizzes. The 15th Philippine Mathematical Olympiad winner Justin Edric Yturzaeta (middle) of the Jubilee Christian Academy is joined by other math whizzes Mikaela Angelina Uy of the Saint Jude Catholic School and Farrell Eldrian Wu of the MGC New Life Christian Academy. The three will be further trained by the Mathematical Society of the Philippines for the 54th International Mathematical Olympiad in Santa Marta, Colombia in July this year. (Photo by Marco D. Melgar, S&T Media Service, DOST-SEI)
Edric Yturzaeta, 16, of the Jubilee Christian Academy topped this year's Philippine Mathematical Olympiad (PMO) held January 26, 2013 in De La Salle University Manila.
Yturzaeta bested 3,400 high school students from all over the country who competed for the PMO qualifying exam last year. Placing second and third respectively are Mikaela Angelina Uy, 17, of St. Jude Catholic School and Farrell Eldrian Wu, 12, of MGC New Life Christian Academy.
Yturzaeta received P15,000 and a medal, plus trophy for his school. Meanwhile, Uy received P10,000 while Wu got P5,000, plus a medal for each, a trophy for each respective school. The coaches individually received P5,000 and a certificate.
“I had no idea I will win in the country's toughest and most prestigious math tournament,” he said. “Thank God much for the blessing.”
Topping the PMO, however, does not guarantee a seat in the Philippine delegation for the IMO, according to Mathematical Society of the Philippines President Jumela Sarmiento.
“The three winners will still undergo subsequent trainings and tests by the MSP, together with the other 17 finalists, which is part of its ‘stringent but necessary’ selection process,” she said.
"But more or less, the PMO is the closest math competition we have to the IMO because the level of difficulty and the format of the questions are already similar or comparable to IMO,” Dr. Sarmiento said.
The 54th IMO will be held in Santa Marta, Colombia on July 18 -28 this year.
The country’s highest awards so far in the IMO were two silver medals by Jerome Khohayting of Xavier School in 1989 and Carmela Lao of Saint Jude Catholic School in 2010. The country also won a number of bronzes.
It is not farfetched that Filipino contenders can soon get the gold. “Judging from the quality of the finalists and winners of the PMO, it is exciting to look forward to [them] bringing home that highly-coveted gold", said Dr. Brawner.
Organized by the MSP, the 15th PMO was sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)'s Science Education Institute which is mandated to develop the science, engineering, and mathematics education in the country.
The PMO, conceived in 2008 as a venue to identify and reward mathematics excellence among students in the country, has enabled the Philippines to carry on its medal haul in the International Mathematical Olympiad, the most prestigious mathematics competition in the world," said DOST-SEI Director Filma Brawner. “ The high degree of competition in the PMO brings out the potential of our math students.”