Filipino youth organization Angat Kabataan received the CEMEX Youth in Nation Building Award at the 10thTAYO (Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations) Awarding Ceremony, held on December 6, 2012 at the Heroes Hall in Malacañan Palace. The group was named as one of the ten winners from a group of twenty finalists in this prestigious annual search organized by the National Youth Commission, the TAYO Awards Foundation, and various partners.
CEMEX recognized the youth group for their “Save Maningning Project”, wherein they worked to clean and rehabilitate a dying Maningning Creek in the province of Rizal. “We actually started by cleaning the creeks na kami lang. But we realized (that) it’s so impossible to clean it kung kami-kami lang,” said John Tobit Cruz, a member of Angat Kabataan. “So, we tapped the LGUs (like) the barangay, (as well as) other people’s organizations, youth groups, and some national agencies to work together to revive the creek.”
The group applied for TAYO Awards for the simple reason of getting the word out about the project that can hopefully encourage others to follow suit. “We’re so happy. Sobrang saya na overwhelmed. And we didn’t actually expect it,” Cruz expressed his gratitude to CEMEX and the award-giving body.
CEMEX intended for the award to give ample recognition to youth groups whose projects and initiatives were conducted using sustainable methods and resources— a cause that CEMEX supports fully and is in line with their own sustainable development framework. “We believe that the youth are vital in nation building,” said Chito Maniago, CEMEX Director for Corporate Communications & Public Affairs. “And Angat Kabataan implemented sustainability and environmental initiatives in their community, which really espouses the dynamism of the youth of today and their power to contribute toward nation building”, added Maniago.
Cruz further explained the process by which they were able to revive the creek through bamboo tree planting and the use of bokashi balls— a technology from Japan that was introduced to them by a partner NGO. Made of clay and live microorganisms, the small balls filter the water, compact the soil underneath and attract fishes.
According to Cruz, their project entailed enlisting the help of residents along the creek where they conducted trainings for proper maintenance and introduced livelihood programs that can be generated from the clean creek. This included fish breeding and water lily weaving, which resulted in a sustainable project that can also help generate income for residents.
President Benigno Aquino III was also in attendance to personally present the awards. He commended all the youth groups for their outstanding dedication and effort to spark change in their communities.
“We’re building the nation, little by little,” Cruz stressed. “We really hope na yung project namin can also inspire other areas to do acts of nation building in their own little ways.”
The TAYO Awards Foundation is now on its 10th year of recognizing and supporting the outstanding contributions of youth organizations in the country.
CEMEX Philippines is the manufacturer of the only Green eco-labeled cement brands in the country including Island Portland Cement, Palitada King, Rizal Portland Super, Rizal Masonry Cement, APO Portland Premium, APO Portland Cement, APO Masonry Cement, and APO Pozzolan.
(This article was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10 December 2012)