What it means to be outstanding

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo May 25,2018 - 09:23 PM

Refusing to be pressured by relatives and friends to give money to voters for her to win, Krystal Jill Delos Reyes filed her certificate of candidacy on April 20 at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Office in Barangay Poblacion, Toledo City.

She ran as an independent candidate for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairperson position.

She was up against another young leader with strong backing from a politician.

Delos Reyes graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Management Accounting from the University of San Jose Recoletos in 2015.

She was a multi-awarded youth and student leader including being one of the finalists of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) in Central Visayas.

She was not new to barangay politics.

Delos Reyes was SK Councilor from 2010 to 2013.

But she was only 15 years old then; timid, shy and did not have the courage to speak up even when she did not agree with the decisions of fellow leaders.

Eight years later, Delos Reyes said she was confident to run, as she was already aware of her skills and what she can do to serve the youth of her barangay.

But at the same time, she was also apprehensive about winning the elections because of rampant vote-buying practice in the barangay.

At about the same time, TOSP Alumni Community, an organization of past finalists and awardees of the TOSP awards program, which Delos Reyes is part of, started the “I Am Not For Sale” campaign to promote clean and honest barangay and SK elections.

This gave Delos Reyes the courage to pursue her mission to serve.

“My experience in the formation program of TOSP taught me that being outstanding is call for service. You can have all awards in the world. But what you do with the accolades and recognition is what really matters most. What matters is how you are able to give back to the community. That’s the mark of being outstanding,” she said.

By the end of the May 14 elections, Delos Reyes won as SK chairperson.

She did not give any money.

She was just armed with the passion to serve and a clear platform of service. One of her proposed actions is to pass a resolution to establish a purok youth system.

“This is to ensure effective information dissemination when it comes to developing, implementing and monitoring youth projects,” she said.


Like Delos Reyes, Riza Fortuna Montaño became part of TOSP in 1994.

She was awarded in the national awards program after she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of San Carlos (USC).

During her time, TOSP did not have a formation program.

The finalists submitted their documents straight to the national committee and they are then invited to an interview process in Manila and later, an awarding ceremony at the Malacañan Palace.

“(The TOSP award) was an inspiration to serve my country in whatever way I can,” she said.

With fellow alumnae, Pamela Asis-Layugan and Lorie Victor, they formed the TOSP Alumni Community in 2000 to strengthen the TOSPians’ commitment to excel in their own spheres of influence while serving their communities and the country.

“The formation program will ground our young achievers to the fact that they are not achieving only for themselves. They are not the only outstanding people in the world. It will allow them to go beyond their own selves such that while they work to become what they aspire, they also serve those who need them including their families, communities, and their country,” she said.

After TOSP, Montaño went on to do volunteer work for a Catholic singles community, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon, where she was part of the mission team to start the branch in Cavite.

In 2010, she married Victor Andrew and, in 2013, she gave birth to John Gabriel.

Montaño has been working for a multi-national company for 24 years.

In her more than two decades of professional involvement, Montaño kept in her heart the true meaning of being outstanding.

“Being outstanding means responding to one’s calling and embracing it with passionate use of one’s talents … going beyond one’s comfort zone amidst being afraid,” she said.


Lawyer Lesley Jeanne Cordero, 2001 TOSP alumna,

believes that being outstanding means doing ordinary things extraordinarily well and making an impact in the lives of many.

“It is not measured by the recognition and titles that one has gathered but the lives she has touched. Wherever you are and whatever you do, keep striving to be outstanding and inspire others to do the same,” said Cordero, currently a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank.

Cordero graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree of Bachelor of Philosophy at USC in 2001. She went on to complete her Juris Doctor of Laws at the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law in 2005.

This week, 20 outstanding graduates from various colleges and universities in Cebu, Negros Oriental and Bohol converge in Cebu for the formation program.

These graduates are found to excel in the fields of academics, leadership and social responsibility.

They underwent a two-day formation program at the city government-run, Cebu City Resource Management and Development Center in Barangay Taptap.

The new set of TOSPians will be recognized at 6 p.m. today, May 26, at the Skyhall SM Seaside City Cebu.

Eric Smith, chairperson of the TOSP Central Visayas Regional Executive Committee (Rexecom), said TOSP does not only provide an avenue to recognize outstanding students of the country.

“More importantly, it addresses the need to continue instilling in our Filipino youth the importance of nation building,” he said.

“TOSP imbues its awardees with a higher purpose that is anchored on principles and moral values. This is a mission that is still very much relevant today,” added Smith.

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