People's CornerLetter to the EditorOur youth are doing it; we can, too!

Our youth are doing it; we can, too!

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Keep writing.

What about you? “I can’t,” you tell me. But you can help, perhaps not my way, but your way.

In my younger days in Canada, I worked with hundreds of boys and girls, young men and women in Scouting.  Under the guidance of a number of committed leaders and parents, our youth accomplished so much for the community. And in doing so, they developed a mindset that set them on the right path as adults — concerned, engaged, and involved inclusive citizens. And most importantly, trustworthy.  We planted trees, cleaned river banks, raised funds for the Cancer Society.

The youth were my Obi-wan Keno-be.  “Obi-wan Keno-be, you’re my only hope.” (Star Wars).

Last year during my involvement with the Leni Robredo campaign, I met my Philippine Obi-wan Keno-be, the Second. (The first being my nephews.)

I met young volunteers who were involved in our democratic process. Young people who were determined to bring the right kind of change to our country.

They were introduced to me as our “future politicians”.  When I asked a young lady if she really wanted to become one, her answer was no. And why not, I asked. Her answer: I am afraid I may end up becoming a corrupt politician also. I said: Then you will make a good politician because you are aware that you can be corrupted, and you don’t want to be corrupt.

Knowing this, I told her: You will let this fear keep you from crossing that line. Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you can to turn this ship around. Let it temper you.

As I expressed my strong views to those in the room about women’s role in society, I turned to the young man on my left, and apologized to him if I offended him but that I did not mean to. I explained that it was only what I personally believe in.

The young man was not afraid of this loud-mouthed old woman. He respectfully replied that any strong-minded man will not take offense with what I had just said.

I was glad, no, thrilled, that the young man spoke up to this old bitty. I often only get silence here in the Philippines.

Is it our culture, our upbringing, our experiences that prevent our people from speaking up, from standing their ground, from stating their case?

It’s been over a year but I hope this message gets to them. Young woman and young man, and you know who you are, step into the fray, and help steer this ship around. You have it in you!

And since then I have met many others. Joshua Villalobos who represented the Philippines, along with a few others, at the recently-held COP28 in Dubai. Dignity Lagunay, John Edison Tubil, Althea Castro, Ashley Manalo, along with many others, who convened in November almost all the student governments of the universities and high schools here in Dumaguete, resulting in a pledge  to help turn their schools into Zero-Waste institutions.

The youth have the energy, the enthusiasm, the creativity, the can-do attitude, but are typically short of money.  Short of transportation means.  Short of large venues to hold meetings.

This is where the adults can come in. Not necessarily to write like some of us do; but to contribute resources and logistics for the youth.

Many of us adults have the resources to help the youth make things happen. Our local youth need us. So let’s have their back.

I’m working on a plan on how we can manage volunteered resources. (More on this next year.) We can do this!

 

Diana Banogon-Bugeya (She/Her)

DianaBugeya@gmail.com

 

 

 

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