TOYM awardees source of hope, comfort – Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III celebrated the achievements of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardees of 2013, referring to them as a source of hope and comfort to him.

On Thursday, December 19, Aquino led the awarding for 9 men and women who he said "made a very conscious decision to work for the benefit of others." He praised them for working to build the future of the country.

"Many people have asked me what will happen to the country when I step down from the presidency – as if to imply that I am the only one putting in long days and nights for this country," he said.

"Events like this remind all of us that there will never be a shortage of Filipinos who are willing to take on the task of nation building – that, in fact, there are so many of us who are working to uplift and empower our fellow men."

Aquino hailed the awardees as role models for millions of Filipinos, and called their "hard work, excellence, and compassion" particularly inspiring right now.

"It is particularly important now, at a time when normalcy and hope are beginning to return to areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda, made possible by the dedication of the people who have come to their aid, including our friends from other shores and, especially, our countrymen. Is this not another thing to be thankful for? Filipinos never stand idly by and let others suffer alone, because compassion and the utmost generosity are intrinsic to our people," he said.

He thanked them for exemplifying this principle of bayanihan, or of everyone doing his part for a common purpose.

The awards, he said, is a "perfect symbol of the [holiday] season, and also a reminder of the things that must remain constant in our lives, namely: service and hope."

For over 5 decades, the TOYM Awards has been an institution in the diverse field of civic work, recognizing excellence among Filipinos in their respective disciplines.

This year's group brings the total number of awardees to 33, individuals who represent public service, education, science, and the arts, among other fields.

The following are the 2013 awardees:

• Emerson Atanacio (Social Entrepreneurship)
• Nicole Curato (Sociology)
• Custer Deocaris (Science Communications)
• Miguel Rene Dominguez (Government and Public Service)
• June Cheryl Cabal-Revilla (Community Service)
• Alonzo Gabriel (Food Science and Technology)
• Karl Michael Reyes (Medicine)
• Paolo Antonio S. Silva (Medicine)
• Christopher John Alandy Tiu (Youth Leadership Development)

Curato is a contributor to Rappler, and has written extensive articles on social trends in governance and the Philippine elections.