MANILA, Philippines - It was a sad and difficult experience for John Jefferson Besa to grow up without his father, who works as a seafarer in Japan, but he didn't see this as an excuse to not do his homework or be a delinquent child.
Instead, the third-year Human Biology major at the De La Salle University-Dasmariñas saw it as a challenge to excel in life -- from his studies to his relationships with others.
Unlike most people his age, Besa has high hopes of turning the Philippines around, from a nation riddled with corruption and inefficiency to one that embodies the spirit of solidarity and volunteerism.
He may currently be limited by what he can do, but this does not stop him from "igniting the change in our nation."
|John Jefferson Besa|
"Sa una, pwede nating masabi na walang magagawa sa lipunan ang pagpapabuti ng ating takdang aralin. Totoo naman 'yun sa ngayon. Pero naniniwala akong magbubunga rin ang punong matagal na hinubog," Besa said.
("At first, we can say that doing our homework will not change our society. That's true for now. But I believe that this will bear fruit in the future.")
Besa is one of the 10 individuals cited in this year's Outstanding Expat Pinoy Children Awards by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
He was given the Ibang Klaseng Talino (A Different Kind of Wisdom) award for "striving his way to excellence despite the distance from his parents."
|Besa with the rest of the winners in this year's Outstanding Expat Pinoy Children Awards and officials from BPI.|
"Let's not see these things (awards) as an excuse to be boastful...We should shed light to those burdened by hopelessness," Besa said.
He continued, "Most young people do not bother to be an inspiration to others...We must empower the youth so a change in the country will soon be realized."
BPI's program, now on its 4th year, aims to promote the value of education, culture of excellence and nationalistic pride among overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their families.
This year's winners were each given a trophy and P50,000 in cash credited to a BPInoy savings account.
"We are inviting the entire nation to join us in recognizing the commendable achievements of these overseas Filipino families," said Teresita Tan, BPI executive vice president and group head of overseas banking and channel services.
Here are the rest of the winners in this year's Outstanding Expat Pinoy Children awards:
Ibang Klaseng Talino
1. Lynn Migel Estoque (Ateneo de Davao University)
2. Maria Angela Mariano (University of the Philippines-Diliman)
3. Kirsten Therese Lestor (University of Santo Tomas)
4. Lord Leomer Pomperada (De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde)
5. Reynold Orsua (Saint Louis University)
6. Richmond Calunsag (Philippine Normal University)
Ibang Klaseng Entrepreneur
- Erilyn Marie Dagan (University of Asia and the Pacific)
Ibang Klaseng Community Leader
- Florence Marie Bayer (Assumption College-San Lorenzo)
Ibang Klaseng Athlete
- Jose Renato Unso (De La Salle University)