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Lessons and Hopes from the Second Youth Summit

From the Desk


The youth is the cornerstone of greatness - at least in the city of Pasig where the Local Chief Executive came from the generation of the Young.

Mayor Vico Sotto addresses the young people on the importance of participation

The City Government of Pasig together with the Local Youth Development Office, SK Federation and the Kabataang Tambuli ng Pasig organized the Pasig Youth Summit II last October 23, 26-30 at the Pasig City Hall. The summit is the first step in the crafting of a more progressive youth development plan for the city. The summit was divided into 9 Centers of Participation (CoP) namely, Economic Empowerment, Governance, Peace Building and Security, Environment, Active Citizenship, Education, Global Mobility, Health and Social Inclusion and Equity. The 9 CoPs were represented by different youth organizations in different sessions in a span of six days and presented their SWOT Analysis, Recommendations and even suggestions on behalf of their sectors and organizations. Office and Department Heads were also present as reactors.


Due to the pandemic, the summit offered a different approach that proved once more the dynamism of the young people and their willingness to adapt to change. For this reason, this is the first summit where there are both on-site and virtual participants. The summit offered opportunities that ensured the participation of the young people in the governance formula of the city. Empowered by one of MVS' agenda on People's Participation, the summit provided a lasting imprint on how the city should be run in a 21st Century Setting. The Local Office of the Department of Interior and Local Government cited the undertaking as the first of its kind and perhaps a game changer in the evolving discourse of citizens' participation in governance.


Lessons


The 6-day summit was not treated as a venue for grand standings and reportings. It is not an opium for both the young people and the local government to tease upon. It is a meeting of minds, a forum to ensure proper discourse to thrive and be practiced in the highest esteem. The young people together with the government officials were given equal opportunities - a leveled field of interaction to relate and be one in a more inclusive governance structure that is slowly being built by the present leadership.


The youth are like strong forces to be reckoned with. There is purity in their statements and the rawness of their ideas reminded us of who we were before the onslaught of the corrupted realities of life. The Summit opposes this and offers a new paradigm where integrity and blunt honesty are enshrined in the highest altars of honor. There is of course limitations and parameters that govern the proceedings. However the opinions of the different youth organizations is a call that though the government is doing what it supposes to do, it still falls short on the standards of the young.


The different centers of participation were crafted and were all based on last year's youth summit results and it embraced the young people's alleged interests and curiosity. If last year is a barometer that measured the depth of the young people's upbringing and sense of community, this year tested their knowledge in defending it.


The reactors gave a clean slate and related their achievements and even their frustrations on the institutions they represent. Their humility in accepting their shortcomings is a clarion call that indeed the city is already being cleansed from the morbidity and pretending-to-be-esoteric offices of the past. The offices and the officers during this summit became humans - imperfect, willing to learn, but most importantly forward thinkers and genuine "lingkod bayans".


The SWOT analysis of each of the CoP's exhibited both the strong and weak points of the local government unit and while the reactors are receptive and accepting, a handful of the weaknesses were caused by the failure of both sides to welcome free information and dissemination. It is an overarching weakness that causes misunderstandings, endless pointings and hurling of faults. It has to stop. In some point the youth with their restlessness must know how to pause and reflect. The government officers at the other end has the obligation to prioritize, economize and be attached to the communities they serve. There is a high requirement however on real and measurable data for motherhood statements alone cannot elucidate and solve decades-old problems.


Pasigueno culture dictates physical and emotional interactions. If there is a need for people's participation, go straight to the communities. Lingering in the city hall's four corners will not do any good. Immersion is a need to combat indifference - a challenge that is yet to be solved or even accepted.


The SK Federation President that is supposed to be the voice of the young people is missing in action. The government under the present leadership of a young Mayor is trying to cure the diseases of the old system. Hopefully the SK Fed adheres to the same interests and as a lowly leader follow the examples set forth by the local chief executive. Thankfully, other members of the different SKs in the city lent their time to share their insights as well as guide the young people towards a more promised goal.


Hopes


After the summit, a plan should take over to rejuvenate the lost years of Pasig's progressive youth. A lot of things are to be done. The crafting of a youth plan to mirror a more inclusive youth agenda aims to solidify and concertize the results of the summit. The grass root level participation is what the LGU is looking for. Questions were raised, answers were delivered and most importantly suggestions and recommendations were laid on the table. Contrary to popular belief that summits are just lousy excuses to break the monotony of organization work, this one is a beginning of more effort with promised realizations.


More organizations are pouring in. Extending their interests to be part of the solution - to participate in the discourse. However, as more young people are lending their hands to cultivate a more fruitful garden, can the local government contain and guide them all? There is help needed for both the LGU and the Youth sector to function for the better and for the interpretation of data. The Kabataan ng Tambuli ng Pasig provided this kind of service and made it more lively and useful. Gone are the days of the "bone fire" summits that is more of a vacation than a working break.


Youth organizations are maturing. They are already asking for the promises and the actions that were left undone. With gadgets and technologies at their hands, their influence flourishes every single day. Controlling such gift is comparable to harnessing energy that should be used only for the good.


The summit is just a start. A beginning that begs for a hearty and truthful end. This ending however is still left unwritten.



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