The SUGPAT Adolescent Development and Participation Program organized its first SUGPAT Youth Talks last June 16 at the Grand Astoria Hotel.
SUGPAT Youth Talks is a regular programming of fora on topics relevant to youth development and participation. These forum aims to be a platform where different stakeholders and youth engage in relevant conversation and create solutions to issues directly affecting the youth of the city.
The first SUGPAT Youth Talks held the theme: “Towards Creating the Youth Code of Zamboanga City.” It aimed to gather different youth leaders in local government and other sectors and organizations to learn from a panel of experts in the field of policy and youth development.
Among the speakers were Atty. Ernesto Neri, co-founder of the Oro Youth Development Council and Lead Technical Writer of the Oro Youth Code, Atty. Christopher Redeemson Brocales, former legislative officer for Senator Migz Zubiri, and Councilor BG Guingona, principal author of the city ordinance establishing the Zamboanga Local Youth Development Council.
They served as the panel of experts who shared best practices of the Oro Youth Code, Youth Development and Policy, and updates of the city ordinance establishing the Zamboanga Local Youth Development Council respectfully.
The forum was attended by SK Chairmans of different barangays, and youth organizations such as 4H Club, Silsilah Dialogue Movement, Silsilah Dialogue Movement, Peace Advocates Zamboanga, WMSU Muslim Student’s Association, SALAAM ADZU, Student Leaders Alliance, Mariposa de Zamboanga, Archdiocese Youth Apostolate, Subanon Royal Blood, Youth Solidarity for Peace, and Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines, and other youth leaders.
In his welcoming remarks, Assistant to the President for Social Development John Mayo Enriquez encouraged the youth through empowering them with the decisions they make: “I urge the youth to use their youthful energy to be critical, innovative, and creative” Enriquez said.
Meanwhile, Project Director of the SUGPAT-ADAP Program, Marco Alfino “Kiko” Miranda, explained the need of the city of a youth code, especially in these times where every barangay has newly elected SK Officials.
Youth participation in local governance
“As youth leaders, it is time to transform a bystander mindset into that of a citizen mindset: That is–you think, you question, you engage, you participate. That is the essence of democracy,” Neri told participants as he discussed the best practices of Oro Youth Code.
In his talk, he inspired the youth leaders to listen to the needs of the community. Neri told the youth leaders that there are a lot of opportunities around the city that could add value to the youth’s experience.
Brocales also introduced the Naga Youth Code and talked about the importance of youth involvement in local governance. He reminded the audience that as people engage in their professional lives, sometimes the tendency is they would only settle for less.
He continued, “Don’t lose that passion, don’t lose that idealism. That’s a fire that you should keep burning. Youth have the wildest, most outrageous ideas on how to change the world. Your passion checks that tendency to settle.”
The last speaker for the Youth Talks was District 2 Councilor BG Guingona where he gave updates on the city ordinance establishing the Zamboanga Local Youth Development Council. He was hopeful in the passing of the ordinance for it will be an avenue where different youth groups and sectors will be properly represented.
He emphasized: “Youth development programs will be inefficient and ineffective if the opinion and voices of the youth themselves are not considered.”
The last speaker for the Youth Talks was District 2 Councilor, Hon. Benjamin Guingona IV, where he gave updates on the City Ordinance Establishing the Zamboanga Local Youth Development Council. He was hopeful in the passing of the ordinance for it will be an avenue where different youth groups and sectors will be properly represented. He emphasized, “Youth development programs will be inefficient and ineffective if the opinion and voices of the youth themselves are not considered.”
Workshop on sectoral issues
In the afternoon, the participants engaged in a workshop where they were grouped according to their sectors: Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), Peace Organizations, Religious Organizations, Indigenous People’s Group, and Special Sectors.
The different youth organizations and groups were asked to identify the issues and problems they observe in their respective sectors. Among their sector, the participants were to evaluate and present the top four most concerning issue.
Upon hearing the issues per sector, the participants then evaluated the top most concerning issue and problem among all other sectors. The top issues surfaced: lack of youth involvement, lack of tribal hall, ghost projects, governance participation, environmental issues, lack of financial transparency with funds, and sex education.
The passing of the youth code hopes to develop projects that will address the issues of different youth sectors.