Two Filipinos, including a cousin of President Benigno Aquino III, were named among the 2012 Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) on Wednesday.
Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, the president's cousin, was recognized for his Business, Economic and/or Entrepreneurial Accomplishments.
Bam was honored for Microventures Inc., a “social enterprise supporting micro-financing institutions to provide business development opportunities for the poor, with a special focus on underprivileged women.”
“By recognizing these young people, JCI raises the status of socially responsible leaders in this world. The honorees motivate their peers to seek excellence and serve others. Their stories of discovery, determination and ingenuity inspire young people to be better leaders and create better societies,” JCI said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvaña, a doctor and a scientist, was recognized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) for his work in HIV/AIDS research.
He was given the award under the Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership category.
The 37-year-old Salvaña was educated in UP Manila’s College of Medicine but practiced and trained in the United States after graduation.
However, as part of the Department of Science and Technology’s Balik-Scientist program, Salvaña returned to the Philippines in 2008 to serve his countrymen.
Salvaña earlier shared with GMA Network's "State of the Nation" progrm that he initially wanted to focus on infectious diseases in the Philippines like tuberculosis and dengue.
However, it seemed fate had other plans when Salvaña was drawn to AIDS research after discovering the increasing rates of infection in the country.
"In July of 2008 nakakita kami ng 12 cases, six of them full blown AIDS at tatlo ang namatay dun,” he said.
“Though I would have liked to work on tropical medicine, nasabi kong mukhang it’s time to shift gears dahil nakita naming na nandito yung problema, at lahat halos ‘to mga bata, mga 17-28 years old,” he added.
Salvaña advocates early testing, among other things, saying that early detection and proper medication will vastly improve the lives of HIV-positive patients.
According to Department of Health data, while infection rates of AIDS are steadily going down in the world, the Philippines remains one of seven countries where the infection is gaining momentum. Ten cases new cases are recorded daily, the health department added.
The other TOYP awardees hailed from Botswana, Catalonia, Ireland, Madagascar, Maldives, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.- VPP, GMA News