CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – Forty two youth leaders completed the 2-day 7th Regional Youth Leadership Summit (RYLS) conducted by the 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division here last October 5.
The participants are composed of 24 females and 18 males ages 15 to 25 years old coming from the different provinces of Southern Tagalog.
The summit seeks to transform the youth into “peace builders” and “catalysts for development” while enhancing their awareness in order to insulate them from NPA and other lawless elements’ deceptions and recruitment.
Ms Maricar A Palacol, the Provincial Peace and Order Officer of Laguna Province, graced the Opening Ceremony of the RYLS and lauded the Jungle Fighters for “continously supporting the young generation by instilling the spirit of patriotism, nationalism and social responsibility.”
Ms Palacol categorically stated the Local Government of Laguna’s pledge and commitment to untiringly support youth programs that will contribute toward peace and development of the province as well as the entire country.
She emphasized that “the youth plays an integral part in the society. They need to be armored with enthusiasm and courage to become great leaders of our country.”
During their stay at the home of the Jungle Fighters, the participants were mentored by prominent resource speakers from different agencies of the Local Government as well as from private sector in line with the objectives of RYLS.
In her talk, Ms Relissa S Lucena of the group #HandsOffOurChildren, shared the awful experiences of mothers whose sons and daughters were recruited by the NPAs.
“Theirs was a heartbreaking story which no parent ever deserve”, said one of the participants.
Aside from educating the youth against NPA deceptions, the activity became a venue for the future leaders to develop a link with the provincial government and have a better understanding in how they can participate in governance upon their return to their respective localities.
The participants were also inspired by Al Jazeera Correspondent Jamela Alindogan after she shared her experiences as well as the determined steps which she took to overcome life’s challenges.
She called on the youth participants to “go outside of yourself, do something for our country” as she reminded them to be good in their quest to serve because “nothing is worth more than dignity.”
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander of 2ID, welcomed the participants and emphasized the importance of “this noble undertaking because what we are about to do is to insulate our future leaders from the NPA terrorists as well as other lawless elements and empower them to become the best leaders which our beloved motherland and countrymen truly deserve.”
He added that 2ID will continue to spearhead awareness to educate the people in order to “build the youth for our country’s future.”
“We will continue to pursue our genuine desire to empower these young people to be active in every way they can so that they may contribute positively towards attaining our common aspirations of winning the peace which is now within our reach”, ended BGen Burgos Jr.
The participants were grateful to the facilitators and organizers “for the once in a lifetime experience and for fanning the embers of idealism and patriotism in our hearts.”
Some youth leaders were quoted as saying “we are Filipinos and we will give our all for the Filipinos.”