President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III lauded young Filipinos for moving People Power forward and for opening doors to progress through technology and the power of their ideas in his keynote speech during the 8th Search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO), held on December 9 at the Heroes Hall of Malacanang Palace in Manila.
The President, speaking mostly in Filipino and engaging the young audience with his humor, pointed out: “Kung iisipin natin ang lakas ng sama-samang pagkilos, naniniwala akong makakagawa pa ng pagbabago. Dito nagsimula ang People Power sa EDSA, at ang People Power nitong nakaraang eleksyon.”
“Manatili kayong matatag, huwag lilihis ng daan, at patuloy ninyong pag-alabin ang init ng pagasa,” he exhorted.
The TAYO Awards, as the search is also called, is an annual recognition program that aims to highlight the oustanding contributions of youth organizations in their schools and communities. Conceived by Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan in 2002, it awards innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing social challenges, such as ignorance, poverty, environmental degradation, unemployment, apathy, disease, and a host of others.
This year’s winners bested over 170 other youth organizations from around the country. Twenty organizations–five each from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and the National Capital Region–were chosen for the national finals. Those that emerged in the Top 10 are (in random order):
- Madaya Tribal Youth Organization (Compostela Valley) – project entry: Fishpond Production Project
- PRO-DORP TEAM (Cantilan, Surigao del Sur) – project entry: PRO Drop-out Reduction Program
- Pag-asa Youth Association (PYA) – Talisay Chapter (Cebu) – project entry: Ground Permeability Enhancer (GPE))
- Link.exe – West Visayas State University (La Paz, Iloilo) – project entry: Bringing Youth Technology Empowerment (BYTE)
- Education Revolution (Bulacan) – project entry: Education Crave Project
- Pochon and Maanichar Centennial Batch Association, Inc. (Mayoyao, Ifugao) – project entry: Mayoyao Eco-Cultural Tours
- Alay ni Ignacio (Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City) – project entry: Non-Academic Formation Program)
- Philippine Stagers Foundation (Balikbalik, Manila) – project entry: Ako Si Ninoy Musical
- Pagaypay 4-H Club (Passi City, Iloilo) – project entry: Pineapple Wine Processing, Swine Raising and Chicken Dispersal
- Brotherhood for Peace (Baguio City) – project entry: Youth for Peace
In his welcome speech to finalists and guests, Pangilinan, who himself was a former youth leader and student activist, recognized the various achievements of Filipino youth throughout the country’s history, citing “youth power” as a transformative force in society.
“We wish to thank you, the finalists, for showing us the way towards social transformation; for imparting to us through your acts that in the face of deep despair we must have undying hope. Amidst unsettling doubt and uncertainty, you have shown us immovable faith and steely resolve. Faced with threats and hardships, you have displayed immense courage; and in the face of untold suffering, you have shown undying love,” Pangilinan said.
“I see in their hard work and determination the future of our nation. I see in their perseverance and dedication the emergence of a new Philippines, a modern and vibrant nation–an empowered and determined citizenry. I see in their selfless acts and their untiring efforts a future that is inspiring, filled with hope and promise.”
“We gather here in the nation’s seat of political power… to honor and give recognition to the real power that has for generations transformed our nation–the power of our youth,” the senator pointed out.
Meanwhile, Guillermo Aponte, President and General Manager of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation, co-presenter of this year’s TAYO Awards, said, “We are deeply committed to living positively–making a positive difference through the way we work and live… We believe that TAYO shares the same commitment to be a positive change in this country.”
The eight years of TAYO have witnessed the participation of almost a thousand youth organizations from all parts of the Philippines and the recognition of 160 organizations that have shown their commitment to provide solutions to problems being faced by their community, instead of waiting for dole-outs from their elders in the public and private sectors. Last year, TAYO winner Dynamic Teen Company, through its representative Efren Penaflorida, made global headlines when CNN awarded Penaflorida as CNN Hero of the Year. Many other TAYO organizations are multi-awarded groups with a good track record of community mobilization.
Nielson Dane D. Gustilo from Nursing Council Board of Students, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, who presented the valedictory speech on behalf of this year’s TAYO awardees, addressed his fellow awardees and young Filipinos. “Manindigan po tayo, manalig tayo, makilahok tayo, makiisa tayo, magtulungan tayo… Totoo ngang ang kabataan ang pagasa ng bayan. Pumili kaming lumahok sa solusyon.”
He also shared some of the group’s memorable experiences throughout the National Finals week, which included a Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Workshop with the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation, an organizational wealth management training seminar with the Bank of the Philippine Islands, media interviews, and grueling panel interviews for the final judging.
“Napag-isa kami ng aming pagmamahal sa kapwa at bayan. Sa komunidad ng TAYO, naramdaman naming hindi kami nag-iisa; may kasama kami sa pakikibaka… Baon namin ang mayayaman na karanasan na natutunan namin sa isa’t-isa. Tunay na panalo na kaming lahat.”
Winning organizations each received a grant of P50,000 from the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, a speciallly-handcrafted trophy by Toym de Leon Imao, and P10,000 worth of Jollibee gift certificates.
Special awards were also handed out by the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), TeaM Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. These were the following:
- TeaM Energy special award (for “strength in synergy while demonstrating the power to serve and help build lives to inspire change among the Filipino youth”): Terrestrial and Aquatic Restorations by Students Immersed in Environmental Reforms (TARSIER) (Baybay, Leyte)
- DSWD awards (for upholding the welfare of the poor and the marginalized, poverty alleviation, and empowerment): (1) Pag-asa Youth Association – Talisay City Chapter, (Cebu); (2) Palawan Conservation Corps (PCC)
- The Best Financially Managed Youth Organization by the Bank of the Philippine Islands: Link.exe – West Visayas State University (Iloilo City)
- Gawad Kabataang Agri Pinoy from the Department of Agriculture (for organizations that support and exemplify the government’s food security and self-sufficiency programs):
- *Luzon: Catuguing Palayamanan 4-H Working Youth Club (San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte)
- *Visayas: Pag-asa Youth Association – Talisay City Chapter (Cebu)
- *Mindanao: Association of Locally Empowered Youth – Northern Mindanao (ALEY-NM) (Misamis Oriental)
- Coke Barkada Award (for “demonstrating the Coke Barkada spirit of collective volunteerism”): Pochon and Maanichar Centennial Batch Association, Inc. (Ifugao)
Also supporting this year’s search are PAGCOR and the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
About the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations
TAYO was launched in September 2002 through the initiative of Senator Kiko Pangilinan. The TAYO Awards Foundation, in partnership with the Office of Senator Pangilinan and the National Youth Commission, organizes the search yearly. Several government and private companies have also come forward to support the search since it started. Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Team Energy Foundation, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Philippine Center of Young Leaders in Governance (PCYL) have also ably supported TAYO through the years.
Now on its eighth year, the search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) is currently hailed as the county’s leading search for outstanding groups of young Filipinos who are instrumental in the development of the country through simple, worthwhile and notable projects implemented in the schools and communities.
Since TAYO started, it has succeeded in reaching almost a thousand youth organizations across the country, has earned respect across different sectors of society, and has evolved from an award given to outstanding youth, into a wider recognition of the efforts of young people in nation-building.
This was republished in full with permission from the Office of Senator Francis Pangilinan.