By Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition
September 25, 2018
QUEZON CITY – In line with the country’s celebration of the Peace consciousness Month and in observance of the international day of peace, Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition, an independent non-partisan national alliance of young leaders and youth organizations in the Philippines, together with the Rotary Satellite Club of Fort BGC Titans, Rotary Club of Fort Bonifacio Global City holds the Philippine Intercultural Youth Convention (PIYC) 2018, with the theme “Breaking Cultural Barriers, Empowering Young Leaders,” on September 22-23, 2018 in Great Eastern Hotel, Quezon City.
The convention was opened with a keynote address from the former Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary, Ms. Gina Lopez, “It is not money nor staff that brings change in the society. It is the commitment to integrity and love, and the youth should know this as you will inherit the country.”
Other distinguished speakers include DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad delivering the message of President Rodrigo Duterte and DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Commissioner Teddy Co of the National Commission on the Culture and Arts, Director Mary Grace Pascua of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, Irish Inspirational Speaker and Best Selling author Mike Grogan, Landbank Director JV Hinlo, and Past President Oliver Alvarez of the Rotary Club of Manila Magic.
PIYC 2018 provides an opportunity for different ethnic groups in the Philippines to exchange knowledge of their culture and heritage, and for young leaders to engage and have a close encounter with government officials and experts in various development fields.
The convention had six sessions which discussed the youth’s developmental priorities based on a national survey done by SKC in 2017. These includes Peace in Diversity with Ms. Jasmine Suleik of the United Nations Youth Advisory Board Philippines and Mr. Elmer Albacete of the AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines as speakers, moderated by SKC Sultan Kudarat Governor, Mr. Kaharudin Gumaga Dalaten. The Health and Social Welfare session had UN Youth Advisory Board Ph Chairperson Neil Lomibao, Dr. Dexter Galban National Chairperson of the Philippine Society of Health Advocates for Policy Engagement, NVAP President Engr. Emer Rojas, and DOH Director Dr. Rodolfo Antonio M. Albornoz as speakers.
Speakers for the Quality and Accessible Education for all session are DSWD Assistant Secretary Rhea Penaflor and Commission on Higher Education Director Joselito Alisuag. In-hand Abra Foundation Executive Director Carmelita Bersalona shared about youth opportunities in the bamboo industry while Mr. Rodne Galicha of the Climate Reality Project PH and Mr. Vermon Timbas of the DENR-EMB spoke during the Climate and Environmental Action session.
In a press conference held during the PIYC 2018, Datu Pax Ali Sanki-Mangudadatu, President of the Sultan Kudarat Association of Youth Organization said in his statement, “There can be unity in diversity. If every one of us with different backgrounds from different institutions can come together, we can do great things. Even the small things, we can do in the greatest ways.” With this, Mr. Ramil Tolledo of the AFS Philippines added, “Peace should be achieved by having interaction among different cultures. It is what makes us relate with each other, promoting peace and our different advocacies.”
Being among the latest personalities that symbolize the significance of embracing the diverse Philippine culture without any form of discrimination, Mr. Norman King, the first graduate of the University of the Philippines from the Aeta community delivered in his statement, “Alisin natin ang diskriminasyon; huwag tayong maglagay ng isang invisible barrier na naghihiwalay sa kayo at kami, palaging dapat mayroong tayo. Bigyan natin ng isang makulay na kwento ang ating henerasyon, gamit ang kaibahan natin bilang lakas sa pagkakaisa na maabot ang ating mga minimithi.”
SKC National President and Rotary Satellite Club of Fort BGC Titans Chairman Mr. Ellirie Aviles on emphasizing the main purpose of PIYC 2018 said, “We encourage the youth to engage in their communities and take on leadership roles. We are not just the future – the youth is today. We should take action and not wait for tomorrow to come. Nananawagan po tayo sa lahat na makialam, makiisa, at makibahagi, at sama-sama nating palakasin ang sigaw ng kabataan.”
“We need to be united to be able to do actions that will result to beneficial permanence. Let us unite by promoting better understanding of the various cultures in the country. By breaking these cultural barriers which hinder growth in our communities, starting among the youth, we are empowering our people and helping the country’s efforts towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable development goals,” he added.
Focused on discourses in culture and sustainable development, PIYC 2018 unifies the Filipino youth to define its role in building a better future while remaining rooted in Filipino heritage.
The convention was organized in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, AFS intercultural Programs Philippines, and the Korean Cultural Center. And supported by SKC’s advocacy partners, the Rotaract Clubs of Fort Bonfacio Global City, San Francisco Del Monte Malaya Achievers, and Zamboanga City West, and the GANAP QCPU.