Youth talks forum focus on youth civic engagement

Aiming to involve and mobilize the youth towards meaningful civic engagement, SUGPAT Youth Talks #5 was organized last September 28. 

More than 70 young people from all over Zamboanga City gathered for SUGPAT Youth Talks #5 “Sana All: Mobilizing the Youth Towards Meaningful Civic Engagement” at the Multipurpose Hall, Fr. Faustino Saavedra Building, Ateneo de Zamboanga University. 

SUGPAT aligns the activity to the Philippine Youth Development Plan (PYDP) 2017-2022 where youth participation is the main focus. The National Youth Commission defines youth participation as the attendance and immersion in programs and projects conceptualized and implemented for, by and with the youth. 

Discussion on youth civic engagement by youth advocates

Five guest speakers were invited to be part of the panel of speakers to share their experience as youth advocates covering different fields.

Among them were Sittishaira Dompol, I Am M.A.D. (Making A Difference) Volunteer, Mary Claire Geduquio, Project Director of Basilan Youth Empowerment Project, Hon. Cary John Pioc, SK Federation President of the City of Zamboanga, Christian Olasiman, Moderator of Out of School Youth Development Alliance, and Sarah Mae Jikiri, Philippine Youth Ambassador of Goodwill 41st SSEAYP. 

The youth advocates shared their experiences in civic participation in their own respective fields of engagement namely youth in Bangsamoro, environment conservation, local governance, youth development, and international relations respectively. 

Moderated by Assistant Training Officer Abmel Immid, the panel of discussion was done in a talk show type entitled “Sana All.” During the talk show, each speaker was asked questions about issues related to their field. 

Encouraging the youth to start the change, Sarah Mae Jikiri said, “If there is something that is not working as it should be, initiate the change and show them how it’s done.”

Creating solutions for the future

After the talk show, the youth participants were grouped according to the five (5) priority agenda of the Local Youth Development Plan (LYDP) namely peacebuilding and security, inclusion and equity, environment, health, and education.

The 10 groups identified the issue they wish to give a solution to, and then the participants were introduced to the game entitled “The Thing From the Future.” 

The Thing From the Future is an imagination game that challenges players to collaboratively and competitively describe objects from a range of alternative futures. The objective of the game is to generate entertaining but thought-provoking descriptions of hypothetical objects from near-, medium-, and long-term futures.  The game involves four types of cards: Arc, Terrain, Object, and Mood. 

The issue each group identified based on the agenda, and the cards they drew, served as the foundation of how the youth participants would create their “creative futuristic solutions” to the problems.

Based on the ten (10) illustrations that were presented, the use of microchips, personal robots, prosthetics, and machines were the top things from the future they think would solve issues concerning the youth. 

Program Director Kiko Miranda concluded that the youth always wants to help, “I know that deep inside the youth always want to make a difference, the youth are there, ready to always help.” 

“Young people literally are our future. It is for this reason that the youth should be civically engaged now because they need to have a hand on crafting the future that they will eventually inherit,” Jose Manuel Gomez said, one of the participants of the SUGPAT Youth Talks #5. ##

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