Press Release
March 9, 2021

TOYM's Pandemic Class of 2020: The Magnificent 7
Senate Resolution Nos. 621, 624, and 670
Honoring and Commending
The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) 2020 Awardees
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto
09 March 2021

Mr. President, my dear colleagues:

Today the Senate holds its annual tradition of feting the country's outstanding young persons selected under the auspices of the Jaycees.

If TOYM's batches were given names like they do at PMA, this class of 2020 could very well be called the pandemic batch.

And I believe that what they did during the past year, when civilization was brought to its knees by a virus invisible to eye, was a key factor in their selection.

And rightly so, because if you notice the disciplines they excelled at, these are the very ones which have allowed us to survive the harrowing days and give us hope for a bright future.

Although there are only seven of them, behind each one are regiments of young people who are fighting in the trenches, to stop the vicious virus from harming the community they serve and the people they love.

This led my good friend George, one of this year's awardees, to tell me that if it were up to him the honor roll would be much longer because, to use his words, the pandemic produced tens of thousands of outstanding young men and women.

So the seven of them, he added, are here today to accept the honor on behalf of the unsung heroes of their age whose unheralded labors will never be honored.

But my response to his attempt to devalue their work is to assure him that what the seven of them - this Magnificent 7 - had done before the pandemic later helped us fend off an existential threat.

For example, without the enterprising work of a once homeless techie in IT, bringing commerce online would not have been seamless during the pandemic and digital contract tracing would not have been done with ease.

A CARAGA teacher's early prototypes of localized instructional materials now serve as templates for distance learning and teaching.

A young Cebuana lawyer traded Senate plenary duty for field disaster mitigation work, leading her to be crowned the "Disaster Queen" by the grateful residents of hundreds of calamity-ravaged towns she helped get back on their feet.

A 38-year-old Iskolar ng Bayan, honored for gallantry during the Ebola wars in Africa, turned his back on a lucrative career abroad to return to his homeland to work on his dream of making telemedicine accessible to the last and the least of society.

A battle-scarred Army captain, skilled in combat, but who preached the gospel of peace in theatres of war, and launched projects that proved that conflicts can indeed be ended by means other than force.

A young mayor who walks the talk in good governance, who serves the common good with straight talk and common sense, who transforms rather than transacts, and draws moral strength from his faith and from his family.

And an ex-OFW who inherited the grit of his ancestors who were frontiersmen in Mindanao by forming a local game-changing transport system run by the working class, for the working class.

The fields they are good at represent the bedrocks of our society and the scaffolding that will allow us to grow.

If they represent the multitude of young people who are animated by the same drive toward excellence and service, then it is safe to say that against an existential threat, this nation shall not perish but in fact shall prosper.

A while ago, the DOH released its daily death tally from COVID. If you add this to the growing number of people getting infected, what do you get? The sum of all our fears.

But talking to these young people today, reading their amazing work, immediately dissolves all my fears, and restores my faith in the future of this country.

Congratulations to the Magnificent Seven, the TOYM's Pandemic Class of 2020. May you always be a force for good, for change, and for the progress of our people.

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