MANILA, Philippines-This year’s awarding of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) at the Malacañan Palace Thursday brought “ hope and comfort” to President Benigno Aquino III.

In his speech during the awarding ceremony, Aquino was all praises to the honorees, recognizing their individual and distinct services which contribute to the growth of the Philippine society and inspiration to the rising generation of Filipinos.

“Because this is exactly what you have chosen to do, you are no longer just individuals who happen to excel in your specific fields. With this distinction, you are role models not only for the communities you have immediate contact with, but also and more importantly, for a nation of millions.”

“Our countrymen see in your example the fruits of hard work, excellence, and compassion. You are the hope that inspires them to pursue their own dreams, and hopefully, in so doing, to touch the lives of others,” Aquino said.

Events  like this are a source of hope and comfort to me, he added.

“Many people have asked me what will happen to the country when I step down from the presidency—as if to imply that I am the only one putting in long days and nights for this country. Events like this remind all of us that there will never be a shortage of Filipinos who are willing to take on the task of nation-building—that, in fact, there are so many of us who are working to uplift and empower our fellow men.”

“This is the very principle of bayanihan—of everyone doing his part for a common purpose—a belief which all of you exemplify every day, as you tread your own Daang Matuwid in your professional lives. This is the very principle of The Outstanding Young Men awards. So at these events, when I meet people who are as committed to helping others as you are, I know I am looking at those men and women who are working alongside us in building the future of this country—a future characterized by solidarity and genuine, meaningful progress—a future where no one definitely would be left behind,” Aquino pointed out.

According to Aquino, the occasion is “particularly important now, at a time when normalcy and hope are beginning to return to areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda, made possible by the dedication of the people who have come to their aid, including our friends from other shores and, especially, our countrymen.”

Aside from extolling the ten awardees, Aquino did not also fail to express appreciation to all Filipinos who “never stand idly by and let others suffer alone, because compassion and the utmost generosity are intrinsic to our people, ” particularly during calamities like when typhoon Yolanda hit central Philippines in November 8.

“Is this not another thing to be thankful for?…We saw this in our fellow citizens who flocked to repacking centers day and night; and in students and employees who donated their allowances and salaries to relief efforts. We saw this in the private sector and civic groups who organized their own relief drives. We see this even today: in men and women like you who care about fostering change that uplifts their fellow men.”

Leading the TOYM 2013 awardees are Chris Tiu (Youth Leadership Development), Emerson Bautista Atanacio (Social Enterpreneurship), June Cheryl Cabal-Revilla (Community Service), Nicole Paula Cayco Curato (Sociology), Custer Calingasan Deocaris (Science Communications),Miguel Rene Alcantara Dominguez (Government and Public Service),Alonzo Alolud Gabriel (Food Science and Technology),Karl Michael Gutierrez Reyes (Medicine),and Paolo Antonio Sandico Silva (Medicine).