Defining the Filipino Youth: Sen. Bam’s Speech During the TAYO 13 Awarding Ceremony

Magandang umaga po, mga kaibigan, mga kababayan!

To all the judges, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to listen and guide our finalists.

To the mentors who shared their insightful experiences, maraming maraming salamat!

Sa mga partners and sponsors po ng TAYO 13 Awards, maraming salamat! San Miguel Corporation, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, SMART, Lenovo Philippines – our official I.T. partner, Cebu Pacific – our official airline partner, Greenwich Philippines and Jollibee Group Foundation… Thank you for betting on the Filipino youth and supporting their initiatives to make a difference in our country.

To the multimedia arts students of the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, napakaganda po ng mga videos! Thank you for helping us tell these inspiring stories. Palakpakan po natin sila!

To the team who put it all together, to the TAYO Foundation, to the Coca-Cola Foundation, members of the National Youth Commission, and members of my team in the Senate, congratulations on another successful TAYO Awards – the 13th! Thank you for all your hard work and sleepless nights!

And, finally… a heartfelt “thank you” to our beautiful, handsome, and, hopefully, not too nervous TAYO 13 finalists – the reason we are all here today.

Our dear finalists, welcome to Malacañan Palace, the setting of the final leg of your TAYO 13 journey… so take it all in. This is it!

This year’s TAYO Awards is held at a very important time in our country’s history. This year, we will choose our leaders.

Once again, we have the opportunity to place our vote on Filipinos we believe will lift the country to greater heights, not just for ourselves, not just for a chosen few, but for each and every Filipino – especially those that are living in poverty and isolation.

With reforms creeping into the different branches of government and progress within the reach of more and more Filipinos, this year’s referendum will determine whether we continue forging forward, retreat back, or hold the fort for the next 6 years.

And for the pivotal 2016 elections, we find that the vote of the Filipino youth is critical.

Sadly, many have low expectations of young Filipinos, believing that they would be easily swayed by propaganda, entertaining memes, and catchy jingles.

There are many who are doubtful of our young men and women, thinking that a constant barrage of advertisements and the popularity of a candidate’s endorsers are all it takes to win their favor.

There are many who question the ability of the Filipino youth to make earnest and wise decisions during these conspicuous times.

A lot has been said about the youth. Marami tayong naririnig tungkol sa kabataan. At karamihan sa ating naririnig ay nega.

Pinipili raw ng kabataang Pilipino ang mag-selfie at mag-facebook magdamag imbis na pakinggan ang magulang.

 Pinipili raw ng kabataang Pilipino ang mag-DOTA imbis na mag-aral.

Pinipili raw ng kabataang Pilipino ang malulon sa droga at sa bisyo sa halip na makatulong sa pamilya.

Ito ba talaga ang diwa ng kabataan Pilipino? Does this define the Filipino youth?

Let us not forget…

It was our young Filipinos that decided to rebel against foreign conquerors using, not only the art of war, but also the sway of a mighty pen to pierce hearts and win our freedom.

It was the Filipino Youth who decided to renounce fear and raise fists full of yellow daisies to an intimidating military, overthrowing a cruel dictator and mobilizing the most graceful revolution the world has ever seen.

When there is a destructive typhoon, catastrophic earthquake, or devastating flood, it is our young men and women that choose to band together to serve those in the trenches through rescue missions and relief efforts.

Time and time again, in our country’s history, young Filipinos choose wisely, choose selflessly, and choose with the Philippines at heart.

And today, I am addressing young men and women that have chosen to create change and have decided to make history by shaping the future.

The School of Law Advocacy and Community Enrichment (SOLACE) organization has chosen to protect the rights of forgotten Filipino detainees.

In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, the Philippine Junior Jaycees, Inc., decided to support the livelihood of farmers by conducting seminars, distributing farming supplies, and creating a contingency fund for the residents of Brgy. San Agustin, Palo, Leyte. 

Pinoy Malkhain uses the power of creativity and entertainment to transform the lives of orphans and street children while the Kanlaon Theater Guild uses the same talent to better educate communities on disaster risk reduction and management.

Propelling our Inherited Nation through our Youth (POINTY) and I am Making A Difference (I am M.A.D.) both endeavor to mold the youth into productive members and leaders within our society.

We have the Youth Sports Advocacy Philippines Inc. using sports to instill good values and develop responsible citizens while the UP Circle of Industrial Engineering Majors (UP CIEM) hopes to develop livelihood for more Filipino families.

Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute (ECCRI)-De La Salle Araneta University developed and distributed a device to detect oncoming floods while the Instrumentation and Control Student Society’s (ICSS) invention guards against fires.

The Tobog Youth Organization drastically improved day care facilities in their barangay and students of the University of San Carlos continues to ignite the love for reading in remote public elementary schools.

UP ALCHEMES and the UP Chemical Engineering Society encourages the use of science and technology to solve societal problems while BNCHS-YECS develops entrepreneurial skills as they address the needs of their fellow students.

Keep Hope Alive enhances the living conditions of Mangyan communities in Oriental Mindoro while Youth Working for Change brings together young Filipinos from areas of conflict to provide much-needed water systems to communities in Basilan.

Finally, we have young men and women from Rebirth Outdoors Trekkers and Adventurers (ROTA) using their love for trekking to raise funds for health care while their fellow adventurers, the Tanay Mountaineers, employ charcoal briquetting to improve the health of communities while also protecting the environment.

Each and every one of you deserves a hearty round of applause!

Faced with our TAYO 13 finalists, how can one say that the Filipino youth cannot choose wisely, cannot choose selflessly, cannot choose for the country?

You, all of you, are the reason I can say to all these detractors, all the naysayers, and all those that are cynical about the Filipino youth… I can proudly say to them that young men and women from across the Philippines can make, will make, and are making better decisions for our country, for our future.

Today, I am honored to stand before the exemplars of Filipino youth.


Today, I am humbled to stand before young men and women that show the country, and the world, what Filipinos are made of and what every young Filipino can become.

Today, we celebrate the true spirit of the Filipino youth that is alive within each and every one of us – a bright spirit that lives deep within every Filipino, young and old.

Muli, maraming, maraming salamat sa inspirasyon! Mabuhay ang kabataang Pilipino!


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