President Aquino poses with the winners of the 9th Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO)
awards during ceremonies held at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. The search for
TAYO aims to recognize, reward, and encourage youth organizations nationwide with programs and
projects that help their communities. (MALACAÑANG Photo)

MANILA, OCTOBER 29, 2011 (BULLETIN) President Benigno S. Aquino III Thursday warned the youth against wasting their energy on planking, playing excessive video games, and updating their Facebook accounts that distract them from nationbuilding.

The President, addressing the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) awarding ceremony in Malacañang, said the youth could contribute to resolving the nation’s ills by emulating the awardees’ positive and constructive measures.

Aquino noted that some youth spend all day playing games in computer shops and updating Facebook status while others complain and protest about the nation’s problems as if the solutions are as easy as “instant mami.”

Although he understood the sentiments of the youth, Aquino admitted he was saddened that these loud protests have drowned out the voice of other youth who silently contribute to nation-building.

“We are gathered here to recognize the youth organizations that offered their time, knowledge, and talent to address the nation’s problems. These groups are aware that planking is not the solution to the shortage of food,” Aquino said in Filipino.

“They are responsible, concerned about their community, and aware of the responsibility to the family and the nation. They are the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations this year,” he added.

Aquino said these award-winning youth organizations which focus on education, healthcare, and environmental protection have proven that Filipino youth do not turn their backs on responsibility. “Instead of getting distracted by modern technology, you are focused on bringing change and development through different meaningful and creative ways,” he said.

“When we talk about the youth, many images come to mind. Some say, they don’t do anything but stay all day in computer shops to play DOTA (Defense of the Ancients),” said Aquino, who has expressed annoyance at allegations that he was an addicted gamer.

The President made an ad-lib in his speech when he asked the crowd who among them understood DOTA. Sensing only a few were aware about the videogame, Aquino said: “To those who don’t understand, this is a video game. Here are the DOTA guidelines and strategies.”

Aquino then stopped in the middle of his speech and showed a small index card containing information about DOTA. “This means Defense of the Ancients. Some people will say again I am always playing video games. No, I am just reading this,” he quipped.

Last month, the President said he was insulted by a question about whether he was playing video games during the Aug. 23, 2010 hostage crisis.

In the same forum, the President assured the youth that his government is working hard to promote their welfare as well as improve the country’s education system, citing various programs for skills training, tuition fee aid, among others. Nearly 30 percent of the country’s population belongs to the youth.

He said the Department of Labor and Employment is working with the private sector to carry out the Youth Education-Youth Employability Project, which helps indigent high school graduates enroll in colleges. So far, more than 100 regular workers from Jollibee have been given tuition fee advances under this project.

Students who want to set up small businesses can also seek capital assistance from the Youth Entrepreneurship Support Project, according to Aquino.

In the proposed 2012 national budget, Aquino said around P238.8 billion is allocated for the education sector, or 30 percent higher than this year’s outlay. The funds will be used for the construction of new classrooms, hiring and training of teachers, purchase of books and other school equipment.

He said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has P700 million for the Training for Work Scholarship program to address the jobs-skills mismatch.

This year awardees are the Industrial Engineering Council , Linangan sa Imahen Retorika at Anyo (LIRA), Youth Solidarity for Peace-Peace Advocates Zamboanga, Association of Locally-Empowered Youth in Northern Mindanao, Alyansa ng mga Kristyanong Mag-aaral-Responsible nga Balikatan han mga Kabataan (AKMA-RESBAK), Indak Kabataan Youth Organization, University of the Cordilleras-Hapiyoh Mi Cultural Group, Young Mindanawans Peace Builders, Aklan Catholic College Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants, and Sama-samang Tinig ng mga Aktor ng Gumagalaw sa Entablado (STAGE).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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