Youth Organizations

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!



From street child to Atenean: The story of Rusty



CLASSMATES. Rusty graduated from Xavier University- Ateneo de Cagayan with a bachelor’s degree in Development Communication. Rusty was a former street kid who, with sheer determination, was able to get off the street. All photos by Bobby Lagsa


Here is a story of how a street child, exposed to drugs and crime at a young age, went against all odds and graduated from Ateneo


CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – In late 2009, 20-year-old Rusty Quintana lined up at a classroom in Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan for a shot at one of the scholarship grants that the university offered.

Though unsure that he would get a chance of entering his dream university, he queued up anyway.

Rechelle Tolinero, a faculty of the Development Communication Department at XU, said that she first met Rusty on that day for an interview for a scholarship grant. “We knew right there that he was different, that there was something about him,” Tolinero said.

Rusty was wearing his best clothes that day – though his best was an almost tattered shirt and faded pants. He did not cut his hair for a while and his thick kinky hair stood out.

A native of the Agusan river in Barangay Florida in Butuan City with lineage from the indigenous Banwahon tribe, Rusty‘s brown skin and hair is hard not to miss.

“When it was his part for the interview, Rusty was quick to point out that if possible, we converse in Bisaya because he cannot speak English,” Tolinero said.

In fact, Rusty did not finish his elementary and high school.

Rusty was only armed with a diploma from the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education, a proof that he is eligible to enter college.

“But what struck us the most is his honesty and straight forward demeanor, when he came here, he had no pretentions that he knew something, or (that) he could speak English, unlike those who came before him in the queue who struggled to speak in English just to prove a point,” Tolinero said.

The kid from the streets 

Rusty Quintana shakes hand with President Noynoy Aquino as he receives Dire Husi's award as one of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations in the Philippines

Rusty Quintana shakes hand with President Noynoy Aquino as he receives Dire Husi’s award as one of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations in the Philippines

Rusty is a street kid who grew up outside the grand gates of Xavier University, near the historic Plaza Divisoria.

He was just 7 years old when he was plucked out of their home by his older brother, Rodolfo Quintana Jr, and was brought to Cagayan de Oro City in 1996, to get away from their troubled home.

Upon reaching Cagayan de Oro, they lived in shanties near the CDO River. There, Rusty spent his days outside the gates of XU, asking for some change and hanging out at the statue of Ramon Magsaysay.

One day, his brother disappeared. He later learned learned that he was arrested by the police on charges of drug pushing.

Rusty would soon find himself at the Mother Theresa Foundation, a shelter in Upper Puerto, where he spent almost 4 years.


Bam Hails Selfless Youth Groups for Embodying People Power Spirit

Senator Bam Aquino hailed the 20 Ten Outstanding Youth Organization (TAYO) finalists for embodying the spirit of People Power and renewing the fire of nation building.

“Today, I see that People Power is alive in our youth,” Sen. Bam, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth, said in his speech during the 12th TAYO Awards ceremonies in Malacanang.

In his speech, Sen. Bam praised finalists for coming up with different programs and projects that help uplift conditions in the communities they live in.

“Anytime people come together to further causes that benefit the less fortunate; any time you join a group that creates change for a better Philippines, that’s People Power,” Sen. Bam said.

The senator also expressed hope that other youth organizations can draw inspiration from the 20 finalists so they can also embody the spirit of People Power and join efforts to create a more prosperous Philippines for everyone.

“It is my hope that you, who have made such a tangible and lasting impact on society, can inspire even more people to join the fight for a better Philippines,” Sen. Bam said.

“The country still needs the spirit of People Power that exists within everyone, to keep the country moving towards social justice, true freedom, and peace,” he added.

Twenty (20) youth organizations – 5 from NCR, 5 from Luzon, 5 from Visayas and 5 from Mindanao – bested 397 other entries for slots in the TAYO National Finals Week.

Sen. Bam gave special mention to Kanlungan Pilipinas Movement, whose E-Learning Centers, dubbed “Balay Kanlungan ng Karunungan”, provide far-flung communities with a free information and learning hub where they can visit and access educational materials.

 Sen. Bam also cited UP College of Medicine Phi Lambda Delta Sorority’s flagship project — Milk Matters, a regular milk letting activity that aims to ensure a safe and sustainable supply of breastmilk for the high-risk neonates of the UP-Philippine General Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PGH-NICU).

The project also seeks to empower mothers to choose breastmilk as their sole choice for their babies’ health and establish community-based milk banks to encourage breastfeeding practices via sustainable partnerships with local government units and non-government organizations.

The senator also commended the Katipunan ng mga Kabataang Santiagueno for its project that produces bio-organic fertilizer and other possible solutions to address the garbage problem of Santiago City in Isabela.

Among its project is the production of charcoal briquettes from leaves, twigs, stems and other cellulosic forest wastes. 

 The three groups were among those selected in the 12th edition of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards. Other winners were RAPID, Inc., Red Cross Youth and Junior Rescue Team, Access PYLP Alumni Association, Inc., Move This World Pilipinas Inc., Youth for Environment jn School Organization, Indigenous Youth Servant Leaders Association of the Philippines and University of San Agustin Little Theater.

The search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) is the sole award-giving body that grants nationwide recognition to youth organizations for their outstanding contributions to nation-building and development.

 The TAYO awards also honor exceptional achievements of youth groups and encourage the replication of such noteworthy and innovative efforts to solve basic problems in communities.

TAYO 12 is organized by the TAYO Awards Foundation, National Youth Commission, and the Office of Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino. It is presented by Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Inc. and sponsored by San Miguel Corporation, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, SMART, SM Cares, Lenovo Philippines, Greenwich Foundation and Jollibee Group Foundation.

The 2015 Search will commence on March 30, 2015. Applications can be downloaded online via the official website

Sen. Bam Lauds Outstanding Youth Groups in TAYO Awards Finals

Senator Bam Aquino lauds the twenty youth organizations that made it to the national finals of the 12th Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards for their untiring efforts to address problems in their respective communities.

The National Capital Region (NCR) will be represented by Phi Lambda Delta Sorority, Children Museum and Library Inc. Junior Council Alumni Association, UP Circuit, Kanlungan Pilipinas Movement Inc., and UP Business Administration Student Council.

From Luzon, Youth for Environment in School Organization, LCNHS-Ransohan Ext, Red Cross Youth and Junior Rescue Team, CITE Youth Volunteer Group, Katipunan ng mga Kabataang Santiagueno, and Indigenous Youth Servant Leaders Association of the Philippines-Isabela made it to the national stage.

Kwaderno, Order of Asclepius, Rapid, Inc., University of San Agustin Little Theater and Youth for a Livable Cebu emerged as winners in the Visayas area finals held in Iloilo City last Nov. 9-10.

Finally, Move this World-Pilipinas Inc, ACCESS PYLP Alumni Association Inc.-ZAMBASULTA Chapter, Hearts and Brains Youth Volunteers, New Breed Special Force, and Rebirth Outdoor Trekkers and Adventurers Philippines Incorporated clinched the five spots for Mindanao after the area finals held in Cagayan de Oro.

“We laud these youth organizations for their untiring efforts and perseverance to find new solutions to solve age-old problems in their respective communities,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth and TAYO Awards co-founder.

“These TAYO national finalists have taken the initiative and went out of their way to help in the best way they can,” the senator added.

The 20 national finalists were determined after a grueling week of deliberation by a select panel of judges, led by NYC Commissioners Dingdong Dantes, Perci Cendaña, Earl Saavedra and Jose Rafael Cruz, and representatives from the TAYO Alumni, media and corporate sponsors.

“While we can only pick five groups each from NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, all the participants are already winners in their own right for effecting change in their respective communities through different programs and projects,” Aquino said.

The judging that will determine this year’s winners is tentatively scheduled on December 8-9, at the Senate Building in Pasay City.

The annual search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) is the country’s premier recognition program for youth organizations.

Since its inception in 2002, the TAYO Awards Foundation has successfully gained credibility as an institution that recognizes and supports the outstanding contributions of youth organizations to the country.

The annual TAYO Awards is organized by the TAYO Awards Foundation, Inc., the National Youth Commission, Coca-Cola Foundation and the Office of Senator Bam Aquino.

Youth Groups Converge to Create DRR National Network

Senator Bam Aquino aims to create a powerful network of young Filipinos who can provide dependable support during calamities and disasters and beef up the country’s disaster risk reduction (DRR) management program.

Aquino made this pronouncement after the successful staging of a two-day consultation and design thinking workshop, dubbed as “RESCYouth: Responsive, Empowered and Service-Centric Youth,” held at the RAFI Kool Adventure Camp in Balamban, Cebu.

Coming from different parts of the country, participants who attended the event are involved in the different facets of DRR, such as disaster preparation, rescue, relief and rehabilitation.

Others are volunteer firefighters, first responders and peacekeepers in their respective localities, like the Rescue Assistance Peacekeeping Intelligence Detail (RAPID) of Cebu City and the Ormoc City-based Hayag Youth Organization.

RAPID has vast experience in relief and rescue operation. They were one of the first responders in Tacloban City after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda.  They also helped rescue passengers of a passenger vessel that collided with a cargo ship in Cebu last year.

Hayag, for its part, has been teaching swimming, disaster preparedness, first aid and open water safety training to youth.  They have successfully taught their members when no one among them had a major accident when Typhoon Yalanda hit Ormoc City last year.

“We can make this network a powerful network of young Filipinos who can make a difference,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

“May disaster man o wala, naririyan tayo para magtulungan at magsama-sama upang matalo natin iyong pinakamamalaking problema sa ating bayan,” he added.

After calamities and disasters, Aquino hopes the network could address other problems hounding the society, such as hunger, lack of education and poverty.

During the event, about 100 youth participants were able to formulate ways and programs that can help improve the country’s present DRR management schemes.

“We expect participants to help this program expand to their respective organizations and communities so many people will benefit from it,” Aquino said.

Participants also committed to closely coordinate with other organizations to expand their network and widen their knowledge about DRR management.

“We will have these organizations as our focal point of support during disasters,” Aquino said.

During the workshop, several personalities shared their experiences and knowledge in DRR management, including Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier of Javier, Leyte, Gawad Kalinga’s Mark Lawrence Cruz and Mario Urrutia III of Reporter’s Notebook.

GMA-7’s resident meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz, Hapinoy Executive Director TJ Agulto and Voltaire Tupaz of Rappler also imparted their knowledge to the participants.

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