Youth Activism Takes on a New Generation

News11.10.2017Danika Sarion0
Youth Activism in the Philippines
Youth Activism in the PhilippinesFNF Philippines

On 7-8 October young leaders of different backgrounds got together for a two-day workshop on youth empowerment. 

“FNF has been supportive of programs on youth involvement. The youth being the next generation of nation-builders is worth investing on, and in times where it all boils down to the battle of narratives, the youth should be empowered to tell the a narrative of truth, a narrative which stand by the principles of human dignity,” Wolfgang Heinze, Country Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Philippine Office (FNF) shared.

The event kicked off with an in-depth discussion on liberalism with Professor  Lisandro Claudio, who discussed about the challenges of liberalism and its history in the Philippines. He explained, that the  Philippines is born out of liberalism in a time when the legitimacy of its principle was questioned and attacked. His discussion paved a venue for the youth to raise their questions on how to translate the values of freedom to people of different backgrounds, and on how to educate people about liberal democracy in the time when they resist to learn the facts and merits of the principle. When asked about the best way to translate liberalism, Mr Claudio said, “i-kwento mo lang” (tell your story).

Quezon City 6th District Representative Kit Belmonte
Quezon City 6th District Representative Kit Belmonte FNF Philippines

The next resource speakers spoke about the importance of having an in-depth understanding of what freedom and liberalism are and highlighted the relevance of youth participation in promoting these principles towards nation-building. Atty.  Erin Tañada, also shared with the group the history of young liberals’ journey to activism by telling his own stories of being an active student leader.  Atty. Tañada hailed from a family of statesmen and public servants. His anecdotes of his works as a youth activist was a testament of how the youth can kickstart the change theywant to happen.

Whoever said the youth is apathetic did not witness how youth activism played a part in changing the course of Philippine politics - Ms. Marge Salonga-Salandanan graced the event as the resource speaker for Youth Activism in the Philippines.  As far as history of youth activism in the Philippines is concerned, despite the difference in advocacies, the youth has been active and has had different ways in forwarding their advocacies.

Atty. Erin Tanada with Rache Gillego and Pauline Sanchez
Atty. Erin Tanada with Rache Gillego and Pauline SanchezFNF Philippines

Social Media influencer and youth activist, Atty. Jesus Falcis, delivered a talk on how to utilize social media in forwarding the advocacies or on how to build or broaden the sphere of influence.

One issue that was emphasized was political turn coatism. The participants have been very vocal and strong about the need to put a stop to this culture that  pains the country, and causes a vicious cycle of unprincipled and self-serving politics.

The two-day event ended with a concrete action plan from the participants on how they could move forward with igniting more fire among young Filipinos to contribute to nation-building by taking actions and amplifying their voices.

As what FNF Country Director said, “there’s no possiblity for a greater nation if you abandon these values and principles. If you take humanity from the people or political opposition, it’s not only that you take their rights and their humanity. But in allowing it to happen, you also lost the humanity of the whole country.”

FNF is a German non-profit organization that promotes good governance, human rights, rule of law and economic freedom since 1986.

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