"We once again thank our TAYO winners for being the shining light amidst the darkness of the world. Thank you for being the break of dawn that signifies the start of a new, changed day. Thank you for showing us with your work that indeed, we have every reason to be helpful; that in fact, genuine change is now before us, is now happening, is now becoming a reality," said Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, who is recognized as the person who thought of recognizing outstanding youth organizations.
TAYO Awards Foundation President Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said, “When Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and the National Youth Commission started TAYO in 2002, we thought that we would soon run out of organizations and the youth will continue coming up with the same projects as before. But we are continuously surprised with the variety of projects and the number of organizations and their locations. It seems that in every corner of the country, and for every issue that our countrymen have faced, there is a youth organization working to alleviate the problem.”
Asec. Georgina Nava, the Chairperson of the TAYO 10 National Organizing Committee, surmised that "Based on the project entries that we went through during the national judging the other day, we witness the growth of agriculture and social entrepreneurship-related projects. We now see that whenever our youth sees one problem in their community, they are able to come up with various innovative solutions that respond to the situation. Talagang magaling at likas na malikhain ang mga kabataang Pilipino!“
NYC Chairman Leon G. Flores III adds, “I hope that with a hundred organizations all over the country as walking best practices, our youth get more encouraged to become socially aware and join organizations and participate in activities that aid in nation-building”.
The 10th batch of TAYO awardees come from diverse backgrounds, offering alternative approaches to seemingly similar problems. First up is the problem of the lack of electricity in remote areas. One Million Lights Philippines tied up with an international organization to access thousands of solar lamps which they were then able to distribute to needy communities all over the country. On the other hand, RMTU – Electrical Engineering Society saw the same problem in a village in Zambales, provided a solar power charging station and solar lamps to Aeta families and are now looking into providing a more sustainable renewable power source in the area.
To respond to the needs of their communities to recycle trash and generate income, two organizations made similar projects, using discarded tarpaulins to make bags. I CAN Make a Difference provided differently-abled young Zamboanguenos a way to earn a living, while the Cebuano Youth Ambassadors gave out of work moms in the slum areas the ability to provide extra income to provide for their families’ needs.
Other organizations saw the need to maintain the livelihood opportunities of people in their area. Monte Verde 4-H Club from Zamboanga City helps young farmers and their families improve their earnings not only through agricultural training for better yields, but processing their crops for better earnings. The CBA-Kalipunan Marketing Junior Executives aims to encourage organic farmers in Benguet by providing them with greenhouses, ensuring that their produce earns them enough money to make a living. On another hand, the University of Luzon Students in Free Enterprise provided fisherfolk in Pangasinan a chance to regain lost income from environmental degradation through the technology of Aquaphonics, which allow them to form fish condominiums that can also support crops like mushrooms.
The remaining three organizations focused on improving the way of life of the people around them. Angat Kabataan caused the awakening of hope and renewal of cooperation from various sectors in their town in Rizal by cleaning up and revitalizing a dead creek. Dire Husi Initiatives from Cagayan de Oro not only encouraged street children to stay away from vices, but also to go back to school, earn a living though learning a trade, and turn their lives around through a common ground, art education. The La Salle Debate Society put the Philippines on the map of the international debating scene by organizing the World Debates Championship, the largest academic gathering of students in the world, amassing not only income from tourism but fostering friendships and encouraging local support in the field of debate.
Other organizations who joined this year are: the Mu Sigma Phi Sorority and Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity, both from the UP Manila College of Medicine; Tingug-CDO; Students in Free Enterprise – Sultan Kudarat State University; Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers – Student Chapter of West Negros University; Hayag Youth Organization; Development Communication Society of Benguet State University; English Society of Aklan State University; Kythe Ateneo; and JBLFMU Molo Community Extension Service Society.
Presented by Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, TAYO Year 10 is organized by the TAYO Awards Foundation, Office of Senator Kiko Pangilinan and the National Youth Commission. It is supported by the Philippine Council of Young Leaders in Governance (PCYLG) and sponsored by Cebu Pacific, Jollibee, SMART, Cemex, Lenovo and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).