Melody Jade Soriano
The Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) standing proudly with their awards. Photo courtesy of Melody Jade Soriano of The LANCE.
The Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) recognizes 10 youth organizations around the country for their valuable contribution to nation building in its 20th national awarding ceremony on March 11, Saturday.
The TAYO Awards is the Philippines' premiere award giving body that recognizes collaborative nation building efforts done by the youth. In its 20th anniversary, TAYO launched a series of events called “Siklab” as it gives homage to its origins, a human rights movement established after the People Power revolution.
TAYO 20 received 491 applications, 67 of which passed the screening, until it was narrowed down to the top 20 finalists. Among them are 10 awardees:
Albay Young Farmers Organization
Iligan Safe Space
Open Arms Organization
Project TALA Organization
Shafaat Agriculture Cooperative - Mushroom for Change
SK ng Brgy. Talomo River
Youth Empowering Youth Initiative, Inc.
This year TAYO Awards Foundation also opened its Adhika Fellowship once again, a program recognizing potential of existing TAYO awardee programs to build hope of rebuilding communities through human rights empowerment in the youth advocacy sector in the Philippines, TAYO said in a statement. It’s Adhika Fellowship grant was received by the Project Tala Organization, Iligan Safe Space, Humans Helping Humans—3H initiative, Shafaat Agriculture Cooperative and Albay Young Farmers Organization, and Super Lumba.
Various speakers grace the stage in the two and a half hour long event. Cultural performances from the TAYO Awarding Ceremony host, FEU, also graced the stage.
In his speech, former and TAYO co-founder Senator Kiko Pangilinan shared how what he and his colleagues started paved the way for new and innovative ideas for nation development; he later on challenged the youth to replicate change. He said, “Kinakailangan pa natin paramihin ang hanay ng kabataan upang tunay na isulong ang pagbabago.”
Former Senator and TAYO co-founder Bam Aquino pointed out what he deems are barricades to progress which are greed, mediocrity, and negativity. Instead, he urged the youth to love, work hard, and to believe in the good. He also gave the famous song Tatsulok a twist saying, “Habang may tatsulok at ilan lang ang nasa tuktok, hindi magbabago itong mundo.”
TAYO co-founder Attorney Mabel Villarica Mamba shared the story of hope she found in the children in Cagayan whose values preceded greed as they returned P36,000 worth of lost money.
The Asian Foundation Philippine Representative, sponsor of the Adhika fellowship grant, Representative Sam Chittick reminded the youth to use their platforms as venues to reevaluate collective understanding of Human Rights. “Attitudes and perceptions of human rights have changed…there were certain rights embedded in the 1987 Constitution that has become accepted and a norm and nobody questions them anymore. And at the same time, there are other rights that at different points are questioned…That’s a healthy process of regeneration and reunderstanding, but it's really important that it is a conscious process.” Chittick said.
San Miguel Corporation’s Vice President Kin Lichuaco appreciated the young leaders for their dedication to service. “At such a young age, you seem to know instinctively that service and active citizenry leads to a life of passion and constant renewal.” Lichuaco stated.
The TAYO 18 and TAYO 19 awardees were also recognized physically as their awarding ceremony transpired during the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic. Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines President Cecile Alcantara greeted the TAYO 18 and 19 awardees, saying “I’m so proud of you too because despite of the many challenges, nandun kayo, ginawa niyo yung inyong kailanagn gawin para mapabuti ang mundo,”
Alcantara also shared how TAYO is an avenue for hope for people looking out for the next generation. “Tuloy-tuloy lang tayo. Tuloy-Tuloy ang TAYO, pa-siklab natin yung pagmamahal sa ating bansa.” Alcantara added.
“The Search for TAYO Awards is co-presented by Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines and San Miguel Corporation, and supported by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, The Asia Foundation, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government.” TAYO said in a statement.