Ten ‘everyday heroes’ recognized as outstanding men, women of 2021

The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardees are presented by the Junior Chamber International, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and the Board of Judges of TOYM Foundation in a simple ceremony at the PLDT Building in Makati City. In photo are (from left) Jaemark Tordecilla for digital journalism; Lou Sabrina Ongkiko for Education and the Academe; Maria Yzabelle Palma, for Science and Technology; Jayeel Cornelio for Education and Sociology; PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, a former TOYM awardee himself; Cardiologist Dr. Jaime Alfonso Aherrera, for Medicine; Eleazar Abraham Orobia for Education and Culture; Anna Oposa for Environmental Marine Conservation; Ariestelo Asilo for Social Entrepreneurship; on the TV screen is Melvin Sanicas for Medicine. Not in photo is Iloisa Romaraog-Diga, for Agricultural Entrepreneurship.

The Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines held the The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awards on Friday, recognizing 10 “everyday heroes enabling extraordinary impact” to their communities. 

TOYM Awardees for 2021 are Ariestelo Asilo for Social Entrepreneurship; Iloisa Romaraog-Diga for Agricultural Entrepreneurship; Eleazar Abraham “Abe” L. Orobio for Education and Culture; Anna R. Oposa for Environment Marine Conservation; Jayeel S. Cornelio, PhD for Education: Sociology; Maria Yzabell Angel V. Palma for Science and Technology; Jaime Alfonso M. Aherrera for Medicine: Cardiology; Lou Sabrina S. Ongkiko for Education and the Academe; Jaemark Tordecilla for Digital Journalism; and Melvin Sanicas for Medicine.

“The task of rebuilding our society is humongous. The four women and six men who are gifted and whose hearts are in the right place will hopefully continue to be successful in their fields and then influence and inspire others. We need them to be the true and real influencers,” TOYM Foundation Inc. Chairman and Rustan’s President Bienvenido Tantoco III said during the awarding ceremonies on Friday. 

For his part, JCI National President Jude Acidre said the awardees, whom he described as “everyday heroes enabling extraordinary impact,” were chosen as they stepped up and out of their comfort zones even during the pandemic to “make a difference not just for themselves, but also for our shared goal of building a more resilient and transformed nation.”

“This award is about the best, about building a culture of excellence, where people always strive despite challenges to be at their best,” he said. 

One of the awardees, Cornelo, a sociologist and educator, shared that being recognized as one of the outstanding young men in the Philippines is a humbling experience that magnified the weight of responsibility he has towards nation building.  

“This is the best time, most opportune time to be a Filipino—that is what struck me the moment I learned [that I was one of the awardees]. It was not joy, not happiness, not exuberance, but a sense of responsibility because our nation is at a crossroads…and I feel that every sector…all have to do something to make sure that the future children will benefit from the fruits of our labor and that labor should not be about us,” he said. 

Palma, the youngest awardee of the 2021 batch, added that with the award she hopes to inspire more people to become better versions of themselves for the betterment of the society.

“Together we can initiate, innovate and inspire, because even if you were just able to inspire one person, it will create a ripple effect and that is how we see development,” she said. 

Ongkiko, an educator in a public school in Culiat, Quezon, shared that the award is not just about being recognized for her contribution to her field, but is actually a challenge to be able to make her students outstanding as well. 

“As a teacher, if I am not able to make my student outshining as well, then this award is nothing. And I think that is the challenge for all of us—that if we can’t make other Filipinos outstanding as well this doesn’t mean anything. And we will continue to strive for that—whether there’s a pandemic or not—because that is our calling,” she said. 

Image credits: Bernard Testa


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