Azkals vice captain Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong, GMA-7 reporter Jiggy Manicad Jr., international hip-hop star Allan “apl.de.ap” Pineda and Diwa party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay on Wednesday led The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardees for 2012 in ceremonies in Malacañang.
The otherwise formal awarding ceremony at the Rizal Hall briefly turned into a party when apl. de. ap performed “We can be anything,” “Bebot” and “Where is the love?” whooping it up with the other awardees in front of President Aquino and guests.
The other TOYM awardees were veterinary doctor Warren Baticados, occupational therapist Abelardo Apollo David, and heritage conservationist Ivan Anthony Henares.
In his speech, the President called the awardees symbols of world-class Filipinos, but said they have a huge work cut out for them.
Caligdong, in a citation read by Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo Brion, chairman of the 2012 board of judges, was praised for capturing the public imagination in sports. At 5’5”, he “outruns and outwits even the tallest and brawniest defenders, and plays with a lot of heart and passion.”
Baticados, an associate professor of the University of the Philippines College of Veterinary Medicine, was acknowledged for his pioneering work on animal diseases which has helped improve livestock production.
David, a member of the academe since 1998, was recognized for training thousands of advocates on good practices and protocols on the care of Filipinos with disabilities.
Henares was hailed for championing the cause of Philippine heritage by serving as one of its most visible voices, pushing for the enactment of national laws, educating Filipinos on heritage preservation, among others.
apl.de.ap, a Filipino-American member of the famous United States-based band Black Eyed Peas was praised for staying close to his roots, even injecting Filipino culture into his songs. In 2010, he founded the Apl.de.ap foundation to “give back to communities and children.” President said apl.de.ap succeeds “by reminding each of us to ‘practice what we preach.’”
Aglipay, was cited as a young legislator who successfully implemented livelihood programs for marginalized sectors. She “has been a staunch advocate and ally for a very significant piece of legislature we just passed,” Mr. Aquino said, drawing laughter as he referred to the controversial Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood Law of 2012.
Manicad, was recognized as a journalist who has been “empowering communities” and helping needy individuals. He “bravely covers events that shape the landscape of our country,” noted the President.
Even so, Mr. Aquino reminded all of them that the best of their work was “still to come.”
“I am here today not merely to award you, but to personally challenge you to do more. What I have learned as President is that no single person, no single entity, or corporation, or government can manage the full-scale turnaround of this country solely on their own. We need each Filipino to do their part,” Mr. Aquino said.
He assured the awardees that he would “stay the course” with them.
“Together, let us start the New Year right…(and) show our countrymen and the world just how outstanding the Filipino is,” Mr. Aquino added.