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Two Filipinos are among this year's finalists to the JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP). Among the 20 finalists are Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana and Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino, who have been recognized for their "humanitarian and/or voluntary leadership" and "business, economic, and/or entrepreneurial accomplishment", respectively.
Salvana was lauded for his "vigorous awareness and research campaign" on HIV/AIDS. He is credited with compelling "government agencies to make HIV/AIDS policy a priority" and spurring "positive changes regarding testing and treatment."
He took up his undergraduate studies at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, and went on to study international infectious and tropical diseases in the United States. He also "studied the HIV/AIDS epidemic that occurred in both Africa and the United States during the 1980s."
He now works at the Philippine General Hospital, caring for patients with HIV/AIDS.
Aquino - a first cousin of President Benigno Aquino III - is a social entrepreneur who set up Microventures Inc. to "support micro-financing institutions to provide business development opportunities for the poor." Its Hapinoy program helps poor women in rural areas to set up sari-sari stores "providing cheaper access to goods and boosting the local economy."
He earned his degree in management engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University, and took part in an executive education program on public policy and leadership at the Harvard University.
Aquino was former chairman of the National Youth Commission, appointed at the age of 26, and at the time the youngest person to head a government agency.
Netizens can vote for the finalists and help them make it to TOYP by heading to the JCI voting page.
"Every year, JCI selects 10 outstanding young people under 40 who live the JCI Mission in extraordinary ways," says the JCI or Junior Chamber International, in its website. "Highlighting the accomplishments of these young active citizens in a variety of fields inspire us to be better and realize our full potential as active citizens."
"Each JCI Member shares the belief that in order to create lasting positive change, we must improve ourselves and the world around us," said the JCI. "We seek targeted solutions to the unique problems in our communities to build a better world, creating global impact."
JCI is a nonprofit organization composed of some "200,000 young people ages 18 to 40 in 5,000 communities and more than 100 countries around the world."