June 20, 2024

Empowering the youth must be done through internal and external efforts. The external support system should be through the social responsibility mandate to care for the youth by the government, the church, the school, communities, and the family. Internal support system must mean the youth supporting and animating one another.
If the external support system is sufficient, then the youth can advance among themselves, like unearthing their natural talents and honing them to be shared. Unknowingly, they are able to shape their personality and boost their confidence. Only then that they can be a part of nation building.
The youth do not have the power to run their programs and activities. They depend on the external support system. They need partners to walk and work with them and counselors to guide them. They also need institutions to fund their human integral formation. The move of the government to remove the infrastructure projects from the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) is right, since the SK has become a breeding ground for corrupt leadership due to the amount entrusted to their care.
Pope Francis dubbed the “Walking with the Youth” as synodal approach. We need to walk with them, be immersed with them, dream with them, and walk with them.
A well-formed, well-informed, and well-transformed youth will mean a bright future. The beautiful experience and encounter or E2 of the youth with their social environment will define the future. Hence, we need to provide venues and avenues for them like music, arts, literature, sports, and spirituality.
The world we have can offer a lot of deception leading to shattered dreams and destruction of life. Illegal drugs, illegal gambling, New People’s Army recruitment, child abuse, alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, pornography, computer addiction, anxiety, depression, and family breakdowns are common scenarios today. If the youth are left on their own, they will surely fall into these traps that can destroy them and their future.
Hence, empowerment means integral human development. I am sad that during barangay sports meets or even during district, provincial, regional, or national sports meets, the youth are not actually given equitable share from funds for sports facilities. The youth are left by themselves to look for their sports equipment. I challenge the Department of Education to seriously consider this aspect of human development a priority. Equally, I throw the challenge to the provincial government units.
The Cordillera is obviously gifted with many talents in arts, music, and other forms of ingenuity. I have been into music and arts for years now. Even when I was in the elementary, I did not experience and encounter any help from the government to at least improve my music, my compositions, and art work. I suspect other talents too had the same plight.
Why do we need to empower the youth, support, and hone them? Because they are capable of transforming the world to a better and peaceful place. We see this in the gospel of John 6:5-12.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a young boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
The youth in the story shared his five small barley bread and two fish and fed thousands of people. Hence, if we empower the youth today, they will surely be active participants in the daily miracles of life for nation building.
Reach me at [email protected] or at 0908-727-6735.