The Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines announced the 10 winners of the 2021 The Outstanding Young Men and Women (TOYM) awards, who were recognized for “willingly taking the extra mile of selfless service to others.”

“The ultimate test of efficiency of corporations lies beyond its ability to make profits for its shareholders, but in its ability to uplift the lives of people,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and PLDT, Inc., in his message.

“If you’re able to say you did that, then you did a good job,” he added.

Held April 1, the hybrid event carried the theme “Everyday Leaders Enabling Extraordinary Impact.”

The awardees are:

  • Ariestelo A. Asilo, a coffee entrepreneur who also co-organized the non-governmental organization Rise Against Hunger, for Social Entrepreneurship;
  • Iloisa Romaraog-Diga, who connects farmers to consumers through her app Session Groceries, for Agricultural Entrepreneurship;
  • Eleazar Abraham “Abe” L. Orobio, head facilitator of Art Workshops for Indigenous People (IP) Elementary teachers, for Education and Culture;
  • Anna R. Oposa, executive director of marine conservation organization Save Philippine Seas, for Environment Marine Conservation;
  • Jayeel S. Cornelio, associate professor and director of the Development Studies Program at the Ateneo de Manila University, for Education/Sociology;
  • Maria Yzabell Angel V. Palma, inventor of AirDisc Cooling Technologies, for Science and Technology;
  • Dr. Jaime Alfonso M. Aherrera, whose research has been used to develop pathways for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) management at the Philippine General Hospital, for Medicine/Cardiology;
  • Lou Sabrina S. Ongkiko, who heads learning continuity plan and blended learning initiatives, for Education/Academe;
  • Jaemark S. Tordecilla, head of digital media at GMA News and Public Affairs, for Digital Journalism;
  • and Dr. Melvin J. Sanicas, an internationally recognized Filipino COVID-19 expert, for Science/Medicine.

In his opening remarks, Bienvenido “Donnie” V. Tantoco III, TOYM Foundation Inc. chairman and Rustan’s president, included a few thoughts from his father:

“‘Do not treat the skills, intelligence, freedom, and life you have as a possession or entitlement,’ my father said. ‘Treat all of those as a gift. Having received those gifts, be a gift. Ironically, when you share your gift, your original gift increases,’” he said, explaining that these sentiments reminded him of the spirit of the awards.

“[These] four women and six men prioritized others above themselves,” he added.

Nominations were screened by a panel composed of past TOYM honorees chaired by Ma. Anthonette Velasco-Allones, 2009 TOYM honoree for Human Resource Development and the chief executive officer of Tourism Promotions Board Phils.

A board of judges, chaired by retired Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, also vetted the nominees.

The awards were conceived by the Manila Jaycees as a chapter project on April 6, 1959. The project was then adopted on a national scale by the Philippine Jaycees on October 15, 1959, during their 11th National Convention in Baguio City.

Women have been part of the search since 1984.

JCI Philippines will hold the TOYM awards ceremony on April 8.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Patricia B. Mirasol