Fast food chain owner, 2 mayors top TOYM awardees

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Thursday, December 8, 2011


MANG Inasal founder Edgar Injap Sia II, Lea Salonga’s brother, musical director and conductor Gerard Salonga, and Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian were among the recipients of this year’s The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines.

President Benigno Aquino III led the conferment of trophies on the awardees at a ceremony held at Rizal Hall in Malacañang Wednesday.

"Every year, we recognize ten outstanding young Filipinos, who have not only gone on to fruitful careers in their chosen fields, but who have also committed themselves to effect meaningful change in our society. Your earnest efforts to give back to your communities and to our country have led to this day. You represent the best of your generation, and it is a privilege to be able to personally confer this honor on all of you," Aquino said in his speech.

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He noted that the awardees serve as "living symbols of the energy, excellence, and dedication that we Filipinos are capable of when we put our minds to it."

"For too long, we have been uncertain about our abilities and our place in the world. It is time to show our countrymen that like you, we can aspire to be more than what we are now," he said.

He asked the awardees to continue to "pursue meaningful endeavors" and to serve as example to future generations.

"Instead of looking at this award as a guarantee that you will go on to be leaders of our country, it should instead serve as a challenge for you to be an example—a living inspiration—of the best that our country can be. I hope that you will not take this lightly. If you succeed in this, each of you can help dispel cynicism, corruption, and selfishness thereby restoring our confidence in ourselves. But if you fail to live up to this challenge, you will have contributed to the erosion of our collective values and self esteem," he said.

In his speech, the President also cited his late father Ninoy Aquino, who was a recipient of TOYM award in 1960 in the public-service category.

"Like my father, when he received this award, all of you here have the gift of youth and, more importantly, the gift of having the potential to be catalysts for change," he said.

From the usual ten awardees, only seven people made it on the list of TOYM this year with a theme “Serve Excel Lead: Creating Meaningful Lives for Others.”

Other four awardees include: Paulino Salvador Leachon, mayor of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, who juggled odd jobs as taxi driver and fastfood chain crewmember before he became a lawyer and eventually a public servant. Leachon is the national vice chairman of the League of Cities of the Philippines.

Maria Antonia Gregorio Arroyo, chief executive officer of Hybridigm Consulting, the first biotechnology consultancy company in the country. She is a daughter of Senator Joker Arroyo.

Raul Destura, an infectious disease physician and molecular biologist whose invention called the dengue lamp test kit has been adopted by the Department of Health. The kit will be released in the market first quarter of 2012.

Antonio Tony Tiu, chairman, CEO and president of AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI), an agro-commercial company specializing in the international and local distribution of quality fresh fruits and vegetables. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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