December 18 and 19 – the very first two days of my official Christmas break was a day that I witnessed proactive youth discuss about social issues, their stand on it, what they have done and what they planned to do. This was the Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress organized by my organization Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx). I had gone to seminars and a lot of congresses before, but this recent congress was none like the other. The participants, composed of officers from different organizations, either an NGO or SSG and the SK were very open-minded and outspoken. I even joked to myself that I was going to get anemic after the congress since the participants had a lot to say, even things that I myself, had not known before. It was nice interacting with them and knowing their sides and stands on specific social issues, concerning on health, governance, environment, social welfare, education and values. We focused on issues that concern the country and the youth. While we had every chance to discuss all the six categories presented, time seemed not enough. There are just too many issues that we, the delegates pointed out. There’s too much to fix and too much problems to solve.
Here are some that I’ve remembered we pointed out during the discussion.
- Poor public healthcare system in state-owned hospitals.
- If you’ve been to Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital, you’d know what I’m talking about. There are three or four patients occupying the bed. Disputes even arise from patients fighting over the bed vacated by a discharged patient.
- While feeding may be an alternative to this problem, it is not enough because to satisfy one’s stomach for one meal is ephemeral. .There’s another issue: Feeding Programs are meant to cater children, but even older people queue for the food not meant for them; a testimony of their dependency.
- there’s still the stigma and discrimination brought about by the disease. People are not much educated yet on the disease.
- High mortality rate among mothers and infants, more than often because of teenage pregnancy.
- I’ve learned that health among mothers and infants is the biggest indicator of the Health condition of the country. Seeing that the mortality rate among these two vulnerable sectors is high, it means that the health condition of the country is poor.
- Global Warming
- In the near future, when icebergs have melted, out of 7,107 islands in the Philippines, only 7 will not be submerged in water. There is climate change due to this pressing issue on the environment and sadly, it is irreversible.
- Biodiversity Loss
- Endangerment of species
- It is shameful for us that the Philippines, so rich in biodiversity and natural resources doesn’t have the wisdom to protect what they are blessed with.
- Noise Pollution
- Air Pollution
- Land Pollution
- Water Pollution
- The tolerant or easy-going implementation of the well-written laws, ordinances and rules
- Degree-holder teachers flock abroad where there are greener pastures, leaving greenhorns to teach the future of the nation. I’m sorry for being so candid, but let’s face it. Some of the best teachers are out there teaching foreigners, instead of investing in the Filipino Youth. This is due to the lack of incentives and motivation in the Philippines. If teachers are the sowers of knowledge, shouldn’t they at least be given more benefits, so that they wouldn’t need to go away?
- Lack of Facilities in Public schools
- The ratio of Teachers to Student
- One Teacher is to a hundred students? Even the best teacher’s efficiency and effectiveness decrease if this is the case. I remember a certain law in Economics: The Law of Diminishing Returns, which states that ceteris paribus or with other things constant like the size of the classroom, number of books and the teacher for example; if a factor of production, in this case, let’s say the students, increases, the efficiency of the teacher decreases.
- OSY or Out of School Youth
- Inaccessibility of Tertiary Education (Please see poverty of adverse effects)
- Our leaders serve only those who are close to their hearts.
- Misconception of what is democracy
- Euvic, a UP Pol. Sci student, demands that we, citizens of the Philippines should demand from our leaders to serve us and not that we allow our leaders to serve themselves . He made me see that the democracy of the Philippines is perversed. The people should have been the one to hold power, because in the first place they were the ones who put that person in position; however, it is the other way around. The people do not exactly know what democracy means.
- Puppetry of SK
- SK is supposed to be the voice of the youth. But in some cases, they have become puppets of higher officials. They are impeded to do what should have been done for the youth and are not given much importance by the higher officials. This should not be the case. They are SK: the voice of our youth, the representative of the youth in the government. They should not be hindered to maximize their potentials.
- Cliché… The word corruption has somewhat became a culture in politics. There are so many ways and forms of corruption.
- The mindset that Politics is dirty
- Lack of Education
- In the Philippines, to get a good job, you must at least be a college graduate or have finished at least two years of College. Tertiary education is not even accessible, so how can one improve his or her standard of living if he or she doesn’t get a good job? Education is always the key to many doors of opportunities, but if that key is lost, what’s going to happen? That person will always be locked out from the opportunities of better living.
- We have noticed how the poor seem to get too demanding. How they are so dependent on gameshows such as the former gameshow Wowowee, which gives really big prizes. In my opinion, gameshows breed Filipinos who depend on luck and good fortune for them to earn money, when instead, they could be working their asses out.
- There’s this debate: Is poverty a product of the mindset or is the mindset of the people influenced by poverty?
- People may be experiencing poverty because of their fatalism. Thinking that their lives would never improve, they gave up hoping that one day, they might rise from poverty. Or…
- People may be experiencing poverty because poverty is a physical thing. They are poor because it is evident by the paroxysm of hunger that they feel or the discomfort brought about their unsanitary and dilapidated houses.
- * I think these were the points of the two debating groups.
- Unequal Distribution of Wealth
- I remember my organic Chemistry lesson which was the Markovnikov’s law which determines where you put the alkyl group or the hydrogen when breaking a bond. If you’re not too chemistry-inclined, I’d put this simply: the rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer. The Philippines may not be a hydrocarbon, but that’s what’s happening with the wealth in the country. The rich becomes filthily richer while the poor becomes dirtily poorer. Even ‘JUSTICE’ is deprived from the poor and is just too available for the rich. The benefits of the government seem to root for the rich only while the poor are given if not less, none. The society is a triangle. The one’s on top are the rich and they are the fewest in number. Majority are the poor. When can this triangle be toppled so that no one has to be on top and no one has to be at the bottom?
- Moral decay
- Once upon a time, the young people of the Philippines are first-class when it comes to respect. We practice kissing the hands of our elders or by using ‘po or opo’ in answering our elder’s question. Today, this practice is almost extinct.
- Once upon a time, virginity was highly valued by the religious youth of the Philippines. Now, sexual revolution has flourished in the country as conservative and as religious as the Philippines. According to the 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, 26% of Young Filipinos from ages 16 to 25 have admitted to committing premarital sex. Worse? About 38% are already on a live-in arrangement.
- Colonial Mentality
- The Kpop fever has swept the country. Imported products are being patronized more than our very own. What will happen to the rich Filipino culture? Is it just going to die because the Filipino citizens have lost their sense of nationalism?
- Overdependence on Technology
- Text anyone? Facebook? Twitter? Dota? Let’s face it, the Philippines have evolved into a cyberzone. Cebu City is even the cyber hub of the Philippines. Improvement and development of technology is good, but because of which, the youth have become enslaved by it and the generation gap has become wider and harder to close.
There are just too many issues. I didn’t even write everything. I just wrote what I think is most pressing and depressing.
Fortunately, the youth is not just aware of what is going on around them. They have also begun to act and respond to these issues with their respective organizations or by themselves. It’s a manifestation, a testimonial and a proof that the youth can also mobilize. Actions have been done already. The only thing that the youth can do is to retain best practices, benchmark each other and work together. In other words, they should unite in order to create a bigger impact to the society. Small stones do not create large ripples, but larger ones do and not only create a ripple but also a splash.
The purpose of the Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress was to unify the youth, coming from different backgrounds and having different fortes and areas of engagement to create one big and loud voice that would not only be heard, but be listened to. In order to achieve this goal, the delegates of the Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress created the Youth Decleration.