From L-R, first row: 2017 National Chairman TOYM Search Disston T. Tan, 2017 National President JCI Philippines Hegem C. Furigay, PLDT Chairman and CEO and TOYM Foundation Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, TOYM Foundation President Bienvenido V. Tantoco III, and TOYM Foundation Vice Chairman Lorenzo V. Tan.
From L-R, second row: TOYM Foundation Executive Director Hilario G. Cruz; TOYM Foundation Treasurer Chaye Cabal-Revilla; 2017 TOYM Honorees Byron F. Allatog, Hidilyn F. Diaz, Marietta M. Javier (mother of 2017 TOYM Honoree Cirilo Joseph M. Javier), Eugenio P. Mende, Ronaldo C. Reyes, Jason Roy T. Sibug, Mark Anthony J. Torres, and Angelo Zambrano (brother of 2017 TOYM Honoree Chiara Anne G. Zambrano); and TOYM Foundation Director Crispin C. Dy Jr.
This year’s batch of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) honorees, eight in total, include an Olympic silver medalist lady weightlifter, a “super veterinarian”, a peace-builder in Mindanao, a leader of indigenous peoples, and a model cop. All of them have, in various ways, contributed to the development of their communities in innovative ways.
PLDT Chairman and CEO and TOYM Foundation Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan congratulated the eight awardees for their efforts to make the Philippines more progressive during the launch of the 2017 TOYM awardees recently. “This year’s honorees are exemplary young men and women who have made a difference in our world today. Through their effort to create a better tomorrow, they have helped transform various communities around the Philippines,” he said.
TOYM Foundation President Bienvenido Tantoco III described this year’s awards as a vital tool in strengthening the country’s nation-building. “We need to be more active than ever before to show our young people compelling models of success,” Tantoco said.
Over the years, the TOYM Foundation has become an institution having developed a reputation for its selectiveness of outstanding young men whom the award is conferred. TOYM seeks to give national recognition to young Filipino men and women, aged 18 to 40 years old for their selfless dedication in their chosen fields and expertise.
Since 2012, the TOYM Awards has been co-presented by leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT. The Gerry Roxas Foundation and Banco de Oro are co-sponsoring the project.
The eight individuals who are being honored this year have inspired many by making meaningful contributions towards a better society.
Starting his police career in 1998, PSUPT Byron F. Allatog is one of this year’s TOYM honorees for government service law enforcement. He managed and led the drug clearing operations in Bogo City. After almost five years of service in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Allatog passed and qualified for the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Force in Timor Leste and stayed with the UN Police from April 2010 to April 2011. Armed with strong leadership and good management style, Allatog’s command was commended as Best Performing Police Station in ARMM for two consecutive years both in Operations and Administrative achievements. He was also the country’s Outstanding Police Officer in Service 2014 awardee.
Olympic silver medalist for women’s weightlifting category, Hidilyn F. Diaz is this year’s TOYM honoree for sports. For Diaz, the journey to an Olympic medal started in a humble village in Zamboanga City, where her cousins inspired the young Diaz to lift barbells fashioned out of pipes with concrete weights shaped in tin cans.
Diaz says that she has faced many challenges, which she eventually overcome, to be where she is now. As an athlete, she just wanted to be recognized as a leader in sports. With a grateful heart, she is happy that other opportunities like becoming a TOYM honoree also came to her. She is currently in training and at the same she is studying. Through her passion for sports, Diaz aims to inspire today’s youth. “I will continue to inspire the youth through weightlifting and encourage them to join sports. It is really through sports that an individual’s attitude is truly shaped,” Diaz said.
This year’s TOYM honoree for arts and music is Joseph M. Javier, who is currently the Music Director of Hong Kong Disneyland. Known as Ceejay to family and friends, Javier is one of the country’s pride. Recognized for his talent locally and internationally, he has won numerous awards, which include being a three-time Broadway World Awardee for Best Musical Direction for both “The Little Mermaid” and “Shrek”. He was also awarded the Best Music for a Filipino Musical for “Ang Nawawalang Kapatid”.
Dubbed as “Supervet Eugene” for his effectiveness as a speaker, teacher, and mentor, Eugenio P. Mende is recognized by the TOYM Foundation for his work on veterinary medicine. Mende did a United States (US) patented research on Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) that controls the biggest and most economically damaging swine virus infection in the world. He is an accredited member of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, International Pig Veterinary Society, and Asian Pig Veterinary Society. With his many community programs and numerous works supporting the local poultry and hog farmers, Mende is nothing short of super.
A diligent and hardworking public servant for almost 11 years, Ronaldo C. Reyes is this year’s TOYM honoree for education. Reyes is a man for change through his relentless promotion of research development, which is fueled by his love for service and dedication. He advocates the promotion of research culture in the community with his belief that research and development fuel the engine of progress, which leads to community growth. Reyes conducted researches in applied science like the production of bioethanol from eddoe or locally known as koanayan, which can become a potential source of energy in the country.
Bringing hope and positive changes to the indigenous society, Jason Roy T. Sibug is this year’s TOYM honoree for community development. He is an indigenous leader who conceptualized and led the flagship program called “Balik Tribo”, which showed his humanitarian effort. For Sibug, who is the President of Tuklas Katutubo (a National Organization of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the Philippines), being a TOYM honoree is an opportunity to further raise awareness on the various IP communities in the Philippines. It also helps strengthen the campaign for the non-working holiday that will serve as the recognition of their rituals and their heroes. “It’s our venue where we campaign for indigenous people’s issues and to solve issues as well in other areas. There’s so much more to be done, and we look forward to what else we can do for the IP community,” Sibug said.
A peace-builder and head of the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao of Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), Dr. Mark Anthony J. Torres is this year’s TOYM honoree for government service education. He is a professor who passionately dedicates his life to obtain and reach peace in Mindanao. He uses the neutral platform of the academe to invite people from various sectors to talk about the peace process. He advocates peace by developing programs and activities that would raise people’s awareness on the desirability of non-violent and peaceful settlement of conflicts.
Award-winning journalist Chiara Anne G. Zambrano is this year’s TOYM honoree for journalism and mass communication. She is currently a news reporter for ABS-CBN, but she began her career as a journalist by producing documentaries for ABS-CBN’s “The Correspondents” in 2004. For Zambrano, journalism is not a job that merely gives necessary information to the public. It is far more profound than that. To her, it is a craft that uses information to distribute power to all Filipinos. It gives every Filipino the power to know the truth, so that everyone is not so easily swayed by fake news and misinformation. Journalism, for Zambrano, gives everyone the power to make informed decisions about how we live our lives.