March 24, 2023

Empowering the youth means to be with them to realize their dreams, and above all immersing with them until our heart becomes younger.
Empowering the youth will never be easy. It entails the tears of joy and the tears of brokenness. There are many factors of being broken despite the beautiful vision of helping the youth to see themselves and ponder on their contribution to nation building.
Envy and jealousy, if not managed well, can destroy the youth. I was once assigned in a community where I proved that envy indeed is a creative and a scheming killer. There was once a family whose children do not participate in church activities. The family saw their happy, maturing, and contented neighbors getting involved in church activities. The parents started to compare their family with the other maturing families. The sad part was, instead of encouraging their children to join, they started to fabricate stories against the happy young people and discouraged them from joining church activities. I thought it was just an illusion but reality proved it.
With human capacity, we will never see light from the predicament. I felt bad, annoyed, and angered.
Insecurity is born when we always compare ourselves with others. Entertaining insecurities is hazardous to social relationship. It can lead to envy that will destroy people, with gossiping as the tool. We should instead boost our self-confidence by finding joy in our God-given talents. I am inspired by the optimism of Pope Francis and his powerful strategy. “Walk with them.”
Instead of hating those who hate and destroy us, we should instead practice the commandment of Jesus, “Pray for those who persecute you.” Indeed, after pondering with the youth ministry, we upgraded our level of understanding and we boosted our self-confidence against the negativities of life.
Bring out the youth from negativities. They don’t deserve to grow from hatred and anger, from envy and jealousy, and from complacency and indifference. They must grow from a good soil of respect, understanding, vigilance, justice, honesty, love, and kindness.
The youth need to be accompanied. Jesus could have succeeded as a one-man team but he testified that working in the vineyard is collaboration and cooperation of people. In like manner, we cannot just leave the youth to run their life. They need a team to work with them and they need teamwork. Jesus sent them in pairs.It was not an easy task.
Let us see Jesus and his team and teamwork. “One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose 12 of them to be apostles.” (Luke 6:12-13) Jesus can do the work by himself but he opted to have a team to give an example. “After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place He was about to visit.” (Luke 10:1)
Livelihood and infrastructure projects are always mentioned during the Mountain Province Provincial Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-Elcac) meeting to address the needs of the community and with the hope of correcting the wrong perceptions of life and the government.
On Nov. 17, I spoke on behalf of the youth. If we want to level up our approach and strategies such as the PTF-Elcac, we must involve the youth and they must be formed. The youth is a vulnerable sector of the society but has a big impact in nation building if they are given the necessary human formation. The CPP/NPA preys on the youth and if we don’t inform, form, and transform them, they will be a big catch in their group.
I am happy that the suggestion on the youth was picked up by Department of the Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Anthony Ballug. The Sangguniang Kabataan must be included in the PTF-Elcac. Creativeactivities like music, dances, and arts can be avenues and venues for them.
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