By Charissa Luci Atienza
The House Committee on Youth and Sports Development approved on Wednesday measures seeking to declare August 12 of every year as the National Youth Day.
The House panel, chaired by Valenzuela City Rep. Eric Martinez passed House Bills Nos. 323 and 3859, principally authored by Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago and Pangasinan Rep. Tyrone Agabas.
“The bills were already approved for consolidation, subject to style and amendments,” said Representative Elago in an interview
She said the bill seeks to “inculcate patriotism and nationalism” among the Filipino youth and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.
“The role of the youth can never be underestimated or belittled. They possess time, strength, and vigor to take on the role as vanguards of genuine national change and development,” she said.
“Let the National Youth Day be a celebration of the role of the youth. Let the National Youth Day be a celebration of the achievements of the youth, and a reminder of what more they can achieve,” Elago said.
August 12 is the same day that the International Youth Day is celebrated. The International Youth Day was established on Dec. 17, 1999 after the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth that August 12 be declared as the International Youth Day.
“The annual national commemoration aims for a decentralized celebration of the United Nations’ internationally-observed youth day in schools and communities in order to encourage program and project initiatives highlighting efforts, experiences, struggles, developments, and victories of the young people for the common good of the people and the nation,” Elago said.
“This comes at an opportune time to send a strong message that the youth holds an eternal spring of inspiration and hope despite the escalating harassment, surveillance and other attacks among their ranks of independent, critical, and progressive voices,” she said.
Joining Elago in filing HB 323 were ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro; Bayan Muna partylist Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat; and Gabriela partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas.
Agabas noted that during the previous 17th Congress, the House of Representatives approved the measure on third and final reading.
“For many years, the State recognized the capacity of our youth as instrument for national change and development. It has also strengthened the participation of our youth in political exercises, like Sangguniang Kabataan, if only to hold true to our youth’s strength as catalysts of change. So to fully recognise the vital role of the youth, August 12 of each year shall be declared as National Youth Day in the country,” he said.
House Bills No. 323 and 3859 task the National Youth Commission (NYC), in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to prepare and implement an annual program of activities.
Under the bills, NYC is mandated to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act within 60 days after its effectivity.