Iloilo youth ask leaders to be proactive in addressing various concerns

ILOILO CITY – Various youth organizations have banded together to press their collective demand for leaders to be proactive in addressing concerns on health, education, economic empowerment, and environment among others under the Iloilo Youth Agenda they launched over the weekend.

A youth conference in Iloilo over the weekend capped with poetry reading and musical performances. (Photo from Hermz Gacho)

Leaders from various youth organizations attended the launching of this Iloilo Youth Agenda at Phinma University.

"The Iloilo Youth Agenda is a product of various conversations among youth organizations. We, the youth, want to rally to those who will be sitting in position that other areas of concerns matter and should be given attention,” the young leaders said in a collective statement.

These young leaders capsulized these pressing concerns in one collective call dubbed ‘Aton ang Gahum: Kamatuoran kag Panindugan” (Our Power: Truth and Stand)’ which they intend to have the Iloilo City as well as the 42 towns and component city in Iloilo involved.

“This is a living document on what matters ,” said Gian Bermudo of non-government organization Dakila, which was the lead convenor.

For health, Therese Marie Avanceña emphasized the need to implement the mental health law locally. While it is a national law, the lack of funding at the local level is the problem.

For economic empowerment, Eman Planto said that the government’s Covid-19 recovery program must focus more on marginalized sectors. In particular, there must be bigger support for farmers and fisherfolks.

For education, Joshua Napilay said the government must find ways to actually implement face-to-face classes as students were not able to have conducive learning environments online, especially with unreliable Internet services.

For active citizenship, Vijay Tangub is calling for bigger youth participation in policy-making of the government.

For the environment, Hermz Gacho called on local government units (LGUs) in Iloilo to give teeth to various environmental policies including proper conduct of solid waste management as well as support community-based renewable projects instead of big corporations. Gacho also urged LGUs to review its climate change adaptation plans as well as promotion of eco-friendly products among local businesses.

The youth conference also had a cultural component with poetry reading and musical performances at Lola Uma Café.