The Outstanding Young Men 2013 search begins

MANILA, Philippines - For over 5 decades, The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awards has been an institution in the diverse field of civic work, recognizing excellence among Filipinos in their respective disciplines.

The search has begun for yet another roster of citizens committed to their inspirational enterprise. The Junior Chamber International (JCI) has formally opened nominations in a recent ceremony led by TOYM Foundation Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and Senators-elect Paolo Benigno Aquino, Juan Edgardo Angara and Francis Escudero.

Inspiring heroes

"We are a country of heroes," went Pangilinan's remarks. "Every day you see and read stories of Filipinos marking new milestones, conquering challenges and marching forward amidst adversity."

These inspiring stories of achievement, he said, leads one to ask, "How do you inspire a nation of heroes?"

"You give them their own heroes – people they can emulate and who can inspire them to do greater things," Pangilinan said.

The Awards were organized in 1959, right before the progressive 1960s, to inspire more Filipinos to embody excellence in the service of others. The TOYM was all at once widely acknowledged as an institution fostering passion, integrity and industry, in honoring young Filipinos between 18 and 40 who have exemplified these values in their work.

TOYM 2013 carries on this mission with this year's theme, "Heroes Need Heroes."

Each year, hundreds of nominees are screened and this process is narrowed down to around 10 awardees. JCI President Ryan Ravanzo says the selection process takes into account the achievements among the nominees in their respective fields and their impact on the pubilc welfare.

In its 54 years, the TOYM now has more than 400 honorees in its roster. The awardees represent public service, education, science, and the arts, among other fields.

National Artist Napoleon Abueva, who was part of the first batch of Awardees, designed the TOYM trophy.

The beginning, not the end

7 of the 12 newly elected (and reelected) senators are TOYM awardees: Angara, Aquino, Alan Peter Cayetano, JV Ejercito, Escudero, Gregorio Honasan II and Loren Legarda.

Escudero noted in his remarks, "Ang paggawad, pagbigay at pagtanggap ng pagkilalang TOYM ay hindi katapusan. Dahil nga po bata, mababa sa edad na 40 binibigay ito, ito’y dapat magsilbing hamon sa lahat ng nakatanggap ng award na ito na patuloy pang gampanan ang tungkulin sa lipunan, sa komunidad at sa bansa." (The awarding of the TOYM is not the end. Because the award is given to young individuals below 40, it serves as a challenge that they continue their service to society, community and country.)

Aquino said his receiving the award in 2010 was a “big deal” since it helped his work in social enterprise.

“In my case, nabigay yung award, maraming nakapansin, maraming tumulong sa aking organization at sa aming proyekto so kahit papaano, talagang malaking bagay ang makakuha ng award.” (When the award was given, there were many who took notice and helped my organization with our projects.)

Anyone can be a TOYM awardee, Aquino said, if they have the “right opportunities and right passion and desire to help our country.”

Angara, who was conferred the TOYM in 2010, together with Aquino and Cayetano, said the award was an inspiration for him to serve the community better.

He also expressed the hope that the search for the next TOYM will be widened to include the field of science, innovation and technology.

Yung mga imbentor na Pilipino. Maganda yun kasi yun ang makatutulong talaga sa tinatawag na nation-building na nagpapalakas ng ating bansa.” (Filipino inventors can help in nation-building.) - Rappler.com

Nomination forms are available at the TOYM official website. Nominations are open until September 30 and winners will be announced in December. Awarding ceremonies will take place in January 2014.