(November 30, 2015)(Digos City)
“Are youth challenged?”
The august halls of the Sangunniang Panglungsod of Digos City hosted a different brand of honorable this Bonifacio Day. Gone were the formal suits and ties of participants. Instead, the rubber shoes and casual attire of young people gave the place a more sleek feel.
The plenary session of the 1st Digos City Youth Summit in Governance welcomed young people across Digos and students residing in nearby areas. The participants became official members of the city’s first civic-state interface. Inviting speakers from various arenas, the summit aimed to engage youth in multiple ways to achieve sustainable development. Coming from various youth sub-sectors and national government agencies the summit’s aim of youth empowerment through convergence may not have been crowded but definitely well-represented.
The speakers for the event included councilor candidate Bembol Castro to speak on the local government perspective. Sharing in the summit’s vision and method of participatory governance, the erstwhile secretary of incumbent Mayor Penas then solicited ideas from the body for youth-targeted projects. The former SK officer exasperated at the audience as the disappearance of the youth consultative body for the nonce left a political vacuum for policy recommendations. The body then decided to pursue a separate program for the consultation.
Along with Mr. Castro on the campaign trail was the Brgy. Captain of Kapatagan who then invited and sponsored the participants to an environmental fun run this December 15.
DOST ‘s Vicente Dagangon afterwards presented a slideshow showcasing the national government agency’s youth-based programs. The Davao del Sur’s agency head included the services and training that youth can avail free of charge. The highlight of the presentation that elicited great reaction was the Starbooks program, a stand-alone database for far flung areas such as Don Marcelino town.
Speaking on behalf of the non-governmental sphere was none other than Rotary Club of South Digos’s President Teodorico “Jojo” Dofiles II. The young-at-heart Rotarian President bewailed the utter lack of youth volunteerism of the times. The speech focused on the youth’s unproductive obsession with the “clash of clans” and facebook. He then challenged the youth to exploit the advantages that the internet provided aside from mindless entertainment; fully cognizant of the digital divide that separates the haves and have-nots.
The Rotary leader then persuaded the audience to join in various youth organizations particularly the Rotaract Club.
After the speeches, a core group was then formed to form the Digos Youth Convergence. The organization’s aim is to challenge young people in development volunteerism. The Convergence seeks to achieve this through coordination and network further activities. Currently, the Convergence is preparing for the agreed upon youth consultative roundtable.