Yahoo! Southeast Asia recognized seven modern day Filipino heroes at the Yahoo! Pitong Pinoy Awards held at the Global City, in time for the National Heroes Day.
Country Editor for Yahoo! Philippines Erwin Oliva said that the criteria used for choosing the 7 Filipino heroes awardees were their inventiveness, their being innovative and most importantly, their strong impact on the community.
“We're trying to declare that the Filipinos who are with us right now could inspire us more, and hopefully we'll find more Philippine national heroes next year. This is not the first, this will be the start,” Oliva said.
Yahoo! called for nominees last May 31 and declared the Pitong Pinoy awardees on June 12. In over two weeks, they received almost 300 nominees ranging from mothers to teachers, to athletes and celebrities, among others.
The Pitong Pinoy awardees are the following:
Alexis Belonio invented an environment-friendly rice-husk stove which converts rice husks into gas that can be used for cooking. He refused to have his invention patented so everyone can use it.
“Sa akin kasi hindi share, parang calling ba, sa kakashare mo eh parang naliligayahan ka. And the more I share the technology the more na dumadami na,” Belonio said.
The next project he hopes to tackle is using garbage to generate electricity.
Jay Jaboneta - Through a Facebook status, Jaboneta was able to generate funds for boats to help 200 children in Layag-layag village in Zamboanga and Mababoy, Masbate cross the river everyday on their way to school.
To date, they have built 30 boats and produced 12 college scholars as a result of their efforts.
Tomas Leonor organized the “StepJuan” walking expedition, which aims to raise awareness about cancer and to raise funds for children inflicted with the disease.
Traveling without any motorized transportation through Luzon, Leonor was able to raise PhP1.5 million last year.
He has walked a total of 1,241.5 kilometers, spanning seven islands, 10 provinces, 86 municipalities and 20 cities and is hoping to raise more funds on the Mindanao leg of “StepJuan”.
Anna Oposa, the director of the Law of Nature Foundation initiated the “Save the Philippine Seas” campaign to address the massive coral reef destruction in the country.
She dedicated her award to Filipino heroes like Dr. Gerry Ortega “for their courageous efforts to protect out national resources”.
Tzarina Saniel is a bibliophile who collects and preserves old Filipino books, especially history books. A teacher by profession, she is an advocate of reading.
“We have to prepare this nation for the next generation and inspire more Filipino heroes. We have to do it. In history, there’s always a rise. A lot of nations have risen and fallen, we have always been in the fall stage, so I’m very hopeful we’ll rise.”
Heidi Mendoza is the whistleblower who exposed the corrupt activities of Armed Forces of the Philippines officials.
Mendoza recounted the difficulties she faced after making the decision, from poison letters designed to discredit her to gaining back her children's affection.
“I wanted to raise and gain back respect for ordinary government officials, who can also be Philippine national heroes” Mendoza said.
Jean Enriquez heads the “Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific” and is an active advocate against sex tourism, the mail-order bride trade, pornography and sexual exploitation.
This is the first initiative by Yahoo! to inspire national pride among Filipinos, Filipino heroes, and to acknowledge the contributions of each inspiring individual through volunteer and advocacy work.
YouTube sensation Maria Aragon concluded the event.(Jomie Apostol/GHQ)