In 2002, youth organizations from all over the Philippines were given a chance to be part of a selection of the most dynamic groups of young individuals yearning to effect positive change in their communities. This year marked the 10th batch of winners of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) – completing its first hundred awardees.
In an awarding ceremony held on December 6 at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang, President Benigno S. Aquino III called on the youth to join the government in nation-building: “Pinapatunayan ng Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations ngayong taon na handang makipagbayanihan ang kabataan sa tuwid na daan. Ibinabandila ng mga ginagawaran nating organisasyon na anuman ang edad, kasarian, o katayuan natin sa buhay, basta’t sama-sama tayong gumagawa ng tama, makakapagdulot tayo ng ginhawa sa kapwa at bansa…Bayanihan ang kakalag sa atin sa anumang kahirapan; hindi sila, hindi kami, kundi ang nagkakaisang tayo ang kailangang kumilos upang lampasan ang bawat pagsubok. Sa tulong ng ating mga awardees at lahat ng ating mga kabataang kipkip ang pambihirang sigla, lakas, at idealismo, tuloy-tuloy tayo sa paghahabi ng masagana at magandang bukas para sa mga susunod na Pilipino.”
A renowned former youth leader who is recognized as the person who thought of awarding outstanding youth organizations, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan expressed his gratitude for the youth for their dynamism. “We once again thank our TAYO winners for being the shining light amidst the darkness of the world. Thank you for being the break of dawn that signifies the start of a new, changed day. Thank you for showing us with your work that indeed, we have every reason to be helpful; that in fact, genuine change is now before us, is now happening, is now becoming a reality.” Pangilinan said.
TAYO Awards Foundation President Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV added, “When Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and the National Youth Commission (NYC) started TAYO in 2002, we thought that we would soon run out of organizations and the youth will continue coming up with the same projects as before. But we are continuously surprised with the variety of projects and the number of organizations and their locations. It seems that in every corner of the country, and for every issue that our countrymen have faced, there is a youth organization working to alleviate the problem.”
Youth Commissioner Georgina Nava, the Chairperson of the TAYO 10 National Organizing Committee, surmised that “Based on the project entries that we went through during the national judging, we witness the growth of agriculture and social entrepreneurship-related projects. Whenever our youth encounters a problem in their community, they are able to come up with various innovative solutions that address the issue. Sama-samang tumaTAYO ang mga kabataan at tumutulong sa kapwa Pilipino para sa ikabubuti ng ating bansa.“
In an emotion-filled response delivered on behalf of the national finalists, Meryl Grace Agudelo from I CAN Make A Difference, Incorporated re-affirmed the youth’s commitment in helping solve the problems of their communities and in effect, the entire nation. “TAYO Awards paved the way to gather twenty young people who wish the same things. A progressive and empowered Filipino communities…Gone are the days of band aid solutions to social problems—we further address constant bottlenecks of our communities through innovation, creating more opportunities through social enterprises, education, tourism and health. We employed frameworks which are sustainable with measurable impact. We do this only because we love our country.”
The 10th batch of TAYO awardees come from diverse backgrounds, offering alternative approaches to seemingly similar problems. First up is the problem of the lack of electricity in remote areas. One Million Lights Philippines (NCR) tied up with an international organization to access thousands of solar lamps which they were then able to distribute to needy communities all over the country. On the other hand, the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University – Electrical Engineering Society saw the same problem in a village in Zambales, provided a solar power charging station and solar lamps to Aeta families and are now looking into providing a more sustainable renewable power source in the area.
To respond to the needs of their communities to recycle trash and generate income, two organizations have implemented similar projects, using discarded tarpaulins to make bags and other materials. I CAN Make a Difference, Inc. used “fusion” technology to provide differently-abled young Zamboanguenos a way to earn a living, while the Mandaue-based Cebuano Youth Ambassadors gave out-of-work moms in the slum areas the ability to earn extra income to provide for their families’ needs.
Other organizations saw the need to maintain the livelihood opportunities of people in their area. Monte Verde 4-H Club from Zamboanga City helps young farmers and their families improve their earnings not only through agricultural training for better yields, but processing their crops for better earnings. The CBA-Kalipunan Marketing Junior Executives from the University of the Cordilleras aims to encourage organic farmers in Benguet by providing them with greenhouses, ensuring produce year-round even through extreme climate changes to earn them enough profit. On another hand, the University of Luzon Students in Free Enterprise in Dagupan provided fisherfolk in Pangasinan a chance to regain lost income from environmental degradation through the technology of Aquaphonics, which allow them to form fish condominiums that can also support crops like mushrooms.
The remaining three organizations focused on improving the way of life of the people around them. Angat Kabataan in Taytay, Rizal caused the awakening of hope and renewal of cooperation from various sectors in their town in Rizal by cleaning up and revitalizing a dead creek. Dire Husi Initiatives from Cagayan de Oro not only encouraged street children to stay away from vices, but also to turn their lives around by going back to school and earning though arts education and livelihood trainings. The La Salle Debate Society put the Philippines on the map of the international debating scene by organizing the World Universities Debates Championship, the largest academic gathering of students in the world, amassing not only income from tourism but fostering friendships and encouraging local support in the field of debate.
Winning groups each received Php 50,000 and trophies specially-handcrafted by internationally-awarded artist Toym DeLeon Imao. The following special awards were also handed out: Coke Barkada to the Cebuano Youth Ambassadors; Project SMART Awardee to the RMTU-Electrical Engineering Society, Lenovo Innovative Tech Award to the University of Luzon Students in Free Enterprise and the CEMEX Youth in Nation-Building Award to Angat Kabataan. All organizations that reached the national finals received gift certificates from Jollibee.
Other organizations who joined this year are: the Mu Sigma Phi Sorority and Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity, both from the UP Manila College of Medicine; Tingug-Cagayan De Oro; Students in Free Enterprise – Sultan Kudarat State University; Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers – Student Chapter of West Negros University; Hayag Youth Organization in Leyte; Development Communication Society of Benguet State University; English Society of Aklan State University; Kythe Ateneo from NCR; and Iloilo’s John B Lacson Foundation Maritime University Molo Community Extension Service Society.
TAYO Year 10 is organized by the TAYO Awards Foundation, Office of Senator Kiko Pangilinan, and the National Youth Commission. Presented by Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, it is sponsored by SMART, Jollibee, Cebu Pacific, Cemex, Lenovo, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The search is supported by the Philippine Council of Young Leaders in Governance (PCYLG).
### Reference: Office of Asec Georgina P Nava Commissioner Representing Luzon TAYO10 National Organizing Committee National Youth Commission