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A 16-year-old math wizard from Jubilee Christian Academy topped the 2013 Philippine Mathematical Olympiad (PMO), earning him a chance to represent the country to the 54th International Mathematical Olympiad in Santa Marta, Columbia in July 2013. 

Justin Edric Yturzaeta was hailed national champion during the Awarding Ceremony of the 15th PMO held at the De la Salle University, Manila. He took home P15,000, a medal and a trophy while his coach Enrique Sabacan brought home P5,000. 

Yturzaeta surpassed Mikaela Angeline Uy of Saint Jude Catholic School, a veteran of the competition and a bronze medalist in last year’s International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), and Farrel Eldrian Wu of MGC New Life Christian Academy, who made news by being one of only two students to tally a perfect score in the 2012 Australian Mathematics Competition in September. 

Uy and Wu won P10,000 and P5,000, respectively. 

The three top winners, however, will still need to undergo training this summer together with the 17 other PMO finalists to fill the national team to the 54th IMO which will be held in Santa Marta, Colombia on July 18 -28 this year. 

The PMO, the oldest and most challenging mathematics competition in the country, 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). 

SEI Director Dr. Filma G. Brawner congratulated the winners and expressed optimism in the quality of all the finalists who competed this year. 

“They were more than 3,400 during the qualifier rounds and to round up the top 20 and the top three is a huge achievement on its own,” said Brawner. “Clearly, the quality of the students who excel in this competition gets better and better.” 

Brawner hopes that whoever completes the roster for the national team to the IMO will sustain the five-year winning streak. 

“It is not farfetched that we can soon nab that gold,” Brawner added. 

She reminded the students, though, that the challenge of continued pursuit of science and math excellence does not revolve around national and international competitions and instead extends through the real world applications of the said fields. 

“It is our belief that you have all the right tools to also make it big in lifting the country through science and technology,” Brawner remarked. 

“We are ecstatic to work with you and we look forward to seeing you in the corridors and streets of a new nation led by S&T revolutionaries that include you,” she furthered. 

The 20 finalists will resume their extensive training come summer and will be guided by coaches from the MSP. DOST-SEI is in constant support of the PMO as part of its mandate of developing a pool of future scientists and engineers who shall lead the country’s drive for S&T advancement. (30)