By Michelle Anne P. Soliman, Reporter
THE Junior Chamber International recognized 11 honorees as The Outstanding Young Men and Women of 2018 for their efforts in service and nation-building.
“The Outstanding Young Men and Women of 2018 builds upon the idea of inspiring, creating and molding leaders [to] become active citizens that hopefully will inspire more people to do the same,” Rey Felix C. Rafols, JCI Philippines national president, said in his speech during the presentation of the honorees at Romulo Cafe in Makati on Jan. 9.
“Your stories do more than inspire us when we hear about it. It gives us an example. It shows the will power of the Filipino spirit. [Lastly], it shows that anyone, regardless of status in life is capable of doing good and capable of being great,” Mr. Rafols also said.
This year’s TOYM carries the theme, “Inspiring Lives Towards Nation Building,” which gathered 108 nominees from various fields who were screened by a panel composed of past TOYM Honorees chaired by Richard Javad Heydarian, 2016 TOYM Honoree for Social Science.
The nominees were also screened by a board of judges chaired by Fortunato Dela Peña, secretary of the Department of Science & Technology. Among its members are: Alegria Limjoco, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Margie Floirendo, chairperson of the Cultural Center of the Philippines; Emmanuel Bonoan, vice-chairman and COO of KPMG Philippines; lawyer Jesus Clint Aranas, president and general manager of Government Service and Insurance System; Herman Basbaño, chairman of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas; and Vincent Reyes, president and CEO of TV5 Network Inc.
At the presentation, Bienvenido V. Tantoco III, president of TOYM Foundation, Inc., highlighted an important message he learned from his grandfather — to “transform the ordinary.”
In his speech, Mr. Tantoco acknowledged the following honorees: Dr. Nassef Manabilang Adiong for International Relations who is “a firm illuminating voice of the poorly understood and underrepresented Islamic perspectives in international relations”; Jamela Aisha Martinez Alindogan for International Journalism who “works in war-torn communities to provide not just news coverage but also relief to women and children victims”; Cherrie De Erit Atilano for AgriBusiness who “gave up a full bright scholarship opportunity at an Ivy League to help farmers earn a living through agri-preneurship”; Karl Kendrick Tiu Chua for Economic Development who “left a high illustrious and coveted career at the World Bank to join the government and work on the country’s tax reform program”; Bernard Faustino La Madrid Dy for Public Service who “represents the new breed of political servants today leading a smarter and sustainable city as its mayor”; Rodne Rodiño Galicha for Environment Conservation & Climate Change Education who “walked a thousand kilometers [at the People’s Pilgrimage in 2015] for months to lobby for concrete actions at the global level to fight climate change”; Fatima Peñones Ibias-Lanuza for Government Service/Law Enforcement who “broke the stereotype against police officers to shine in the male-dominated field”; Dr. Erika Fille Tupas Legara for Education Innovation who “finished her PhD in Physics with an average of 1.0 is now at the forefront of first formal data science program in the Philippines”; Dr. Katerina Tolentino Leyritana for Public Health who “embrace(d) public health over a lucrative career to provide advance medical care for infectious diseases particularly HIV”; Dr. Mark Anthony Santiago Sandoval for Medicine/Endocrinology who “chose to practice in the academe widening his research and educate small town Filipinos on diabetes”; and Jaton Zulueta Jr. for Community Development who “gave thousands of hours teaching out of school youths starting from makeshift classrooms in the cemetery.”
2018 TOYM honorees Mses. Atilano and Alindogan expressed their message to the youth to be of service.
Ms. Alindogan said, “We live in a world where global leaders have no respect for institutional authority, [and] where global leaders only understand personal power….We need to make stock of where we are as Filipinos at this point and where we can be in the future. It’s so easy to be angry, but you have to use that discontent and harness it into something productive.”
Ms. Atilano, for her part, said, “I want to tell the Filipino youth that dreaming is very important. You need to dream for the country and for themselves. I chose to be here in the Philippines because we need to start in our own backyard. If you want to create change, you need to start here in the Philippines….We have so many problems to solve. If we just close our eyes and leave those problems, we will keep blaming our government leaders, private leaders, and at the end of the day, we will blame ourselves because we did not do anything about it.”