Young Pinoys chosen to speak with world leaders

After the last champagne flute has been clinked, the modern-day heroes we honor resume the hard work that got them recognized in the first place.

But, for two of Yahoo! Philippines’s Pitong Pinoy Awardees chosen last year, the accolades haven’t stopped. This time, environmentalist Anna Oposa and online activist Jay Jaboneta have been chosen as among the 2012 “Young Global Shapers” of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

They will join 68 other individuals under the age of 30 from around the world to speak with world leaders and help set the agenda at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting on Jan.25-29 at Davos-Klosters in Switzerland.

With the theme of this year’s meeting being “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models,” it becomes an opportunity for Anna and Jay to push their advocacies and bring their desire to improve the Philippines to the world stage.

Anna: Being dissatisfied pushes her to do better

Anna Oposa, 23, is behind “Save the Philippines Seas,” which campaigns to have people recognize the Philippines as a center for both biodiversity and adversity. Using the Internet, Anna created a blog to fight against massive coral reef destruction and lobby for stronger laws that protect the environment.

Despite her success, she remains cautious. “This is just the beginning. It’s always an uphill battle,” she says.

Since winning her Pitong Pinoy award, Anna has pushed to have Congress sponsor a bill to protect all shark and ray species, campaigned for an ordinance to ban plastic in Manila and attended speaking engagements. She is now working on a mobile application and website.

“It’s an exciting time to be alive. I never have boring days,” Anna says.

While she admits to being dissatisfied with the work she has done, her inability to rest on her laurels pushes her to do better.

Jay: Wants the community to continue what he started

Jay Jaboneta, 30, is the captain of “The Yellow Boat” project that set sail from a status message on Facebook about children in Zamboanga who had to swim just to go to school.

While his message raised funds for the Bagong Pag-asa Yellow Boats the community now uses, he later realized that they wouldn’t be enough.

“They might have a boat and it gets them safe and dry to school but they have nothing to eat naman during recess,” he explains.

That’s when he turned his “Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids” to “Philippine Funds for Little Kids.” Jay brought his project to Isla Mababoy in Monreal, Masbate where donations funded 25 Bagong Pag-asa boats, a 600-meter water pipe system and a four-classroom school on the island.

Even if he has successfully applied his campaign elsewhere, Jay frets, “How do we know that what we started can be continued by the community leaders?”

Other youth reps from the Philippines

Aside from Anna and Jay, seven other young Pinoys were chosen as “Young Global Shapers.” According to The Philippine Star, they are:

• Maria Carmela Alvarez, the 24-year-old mayor of San Vicente, Palawan, who wants sustainable means to turn her town into a tourist hub;

• Ponce Ernest Samaniego, 21, whose company provides business expertise to nonprofits;

• Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, a practicing doctor from San Pablo, Laguna, who also advises on health-related projects;

• Eleanor Rosa Pinugu, founder of a nonprofit school that provides poor Filipino children access to 14 years of high-quality education;

• Mildred Ople, 25, who uses innovative agricultural technology with profitable business concepts;

• Alexandra Amanda Eduque, 21, founder and chairperson of the Habitat for Humanity Philippines Youth Council; and

• TV host Bianca Gonzalez, 28, who was recently appointed as Special Advocate for Children for the United Nations Children’s Fund-Philippines. 🙄


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