By Joey A. Gabieta |Inquirer Visayas3:27 am | Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY—It was his harrowing experience during the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” that strengthened his resolve to do well at the licensure exams for certified public accountants (CPA).
And Rommel Rhino Edusma, 25, did not only pass the exams, he aced it.
Edusma topped the 2014 CPA Licensure Exams with a rating of 94.57 percent, the first topnotcher produced by the widely unheard of 19-year-old Asian Development Foundation College (ADFC) here.
Edward Chua, ADFC president, said the honor that Edusma had brought to the school was cause for a celebration.
“Of course, we are very happy. We have never produced a top one although we have produced a 14th placer previously,” he said.
The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) said 1,107 examinees passed out of the 5,540 who took the exams in the cities of Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Legaspi in July.
Finishing at second place with a rating of 93.43 percent was Joanna Marie Lim Barrozo of San Beda College of Alabang (St. Benedict College). In third place was Ray Hamodi Balagbis Ngalot from the University of San Carlos with a grade of 92.43 percent. Four of the top 10 placers were graduates of San Beda College of Alabang and San Beda College.
There were no graduates from the University of the Philippines in the top 10 places.
Though none of its graduates landed in the top 10, De La Salle University Manila was the top performing school with 68 out of 75 graduates who took the exams passing, for a pass rate of 90.67 percent.
Family his top priority
Edusma, who has been living in Manila since May to find a job, was in his boarding house at about 8 p.m. on Friday when he received a call from a friend who told him the good news.
He immediately checked the information on the PRC website. When it was confirmed, he called his parents in Pinabacdao, Samar, where they are staying with his sister, Rose.
Rustico, a retired soldier, and his wife, Flores, who suffers from a heart ailment, were overjoyed.
Edusma, the sixth of 10 children, has promised to help pay for the education of his youngest sibling, Ruffa Jean, 18 and a sophomore student who lives with an older brother, Roel Al, a corporal with the Army’s 803rd Infantry Brigade based in Catarman, Northern Samar.
“She is now taking an environmental course with my brother mostly paying her school fees. But I promise to help my brother pay for her schooling,” Edusma said.
His six other siblings are staying in the family home in Cabucgayan, Biliran, their hometown.
When he was studying at the ADFC here, Edusma lived with an aunt, Maria Wilfreda Carolino, at V&G Subdivision, the biggest subdivision in Tacloban City.
Yolanda inflicted much damage on the houses of Edusma’s aunt and his sister as well as their family home in Biliran. But although the roof of his aunt’s house was blown away, it was minor compared with the devastation wrought by Yolanda on the rest of Tacloban, Edusma said.
Yolanda did not dampen his spirit, however. Instead, it strengthened his resolve to do well in the licensure exams so he could help his family, he said.
“I did not allow our bad experience with Yolanda to disturb me but rather used it to do better in our examinations. I know this will serve as an instrument for me to help my family,” Edusma said.
He topped the preboard exams conducted by ADFC and went to Manila to review for the exams.
He ranked 6th in the mock board examinations conducted by the review center in Manila in a field of more than 1,000 examinees.
The results bouyed Edusma’s confidence that he would not only pass the licensure exams but would land in the top 10.
What he didn’t expect was that he would top the exams.
“I thanked the Lord for this achievement,” Edusma said.
An inspiration Margie Manibad, an ADFC teacher, described Edusma as a “quiet student” yet knowledgeable of the subject.
She said he would usually see Edusma in the school library. “He is really an intelligent student. But I have to admit that I never expected that he would top the board examinations,” Manibad said.
Manibad said the results would inspire the teachers at ADFC.
Already, ADFC students are saying that Edusma’s feat was an inspiration.
“When I learned about it, it made me happy. This will really serve as an inspiration and challenge to us to do better in our studies,” said Fritzie Corales, 18, a second year accountancy student.
If given a chance, Edusma said he would want to return to Tacloban and teach first at the ADFC before joining an accounting firm.
He said he wanted to share his knowledge with the students of his alma mater first as a way of paying forward.
But his top priority remains to help his family.
Top 10 CPA board passers
1. Rommel Rhino Catudio Edusma, Asian Development Foundation College – 94.57
2. Joanna Marie Lim Barrozo, San Beda College of Alabang (St. Benedict College) – 93.43
3. Ray Hamodi Balagbis Ngalot, University of San Carlos – 92.43
4. Orvile Perdon Rabino, Adventist University of the Philippines – 92.00
5. Joscel Barrio de los Cielos, Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan) – 91.57
6. Jamaica Perez Englis, University of San Carlos – 91.43
7. Ken Lester Tantiado Guillen, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (Sta. Mesa) – 91.29
Dann Karlo Alfaro Manzano, San Beda College – 91.29
8. Eros de la Rosa Herrera, San Beda College of Alabang Inc. – 91.14
Thomas Zachary Pineda Sarigumba, University of San Carlos – 91.14
9. Jo-Ann Herrera Mercado, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (Sto. Tomas, Batangas) – 90.86
10. Lyndon Giganto Asis, Southwestern University – 90.43
Adrian Caguete Enriquez, San Beda College – 90.43