"Let's be catalysts for the change we want to see in our communities and country."
This was the core of the solidarity message that Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto delivered to the young students of the University of the East (UE) Manila during the College of Arts and Sciences' virtual State of the Youth Address (SOYA) on Saturday, Jan. 28.
In keeping with the forum's theme, "Youth Involvement in Emerging Sociocultural Challenges," Sotto commended the college's student council for organizing and holding a space for the school's youth to engage with the country's political shapers and movers.
"We see around the world and throughout history that communities and countries with high levels of citizen participation have higher levels of inclusive development and growth, and lower levels of corruption and other similar problems," Sotto said.
He said he hopes that forums like this will be the start of the youth's active participation in government.
"If there's a will, there's a way. I encourage all of you to find ways to participate. Start with your organizations in the school, with your student council, then engage our barangays, city and municipal governments," Sotto emphasized.
"As young people, we see the ideal, we see the problems and the things we want to change. Let's be catalysts for the change we want to see in our communities and country."
Aside from Sotto, Senator Risa Hontiveros also delivered a solidarity message at the university's SOYA. She stressed the importance of the youth towards progressive leadership, urging students to genuinely listen to each other amid the social media babble, and be proactive members of society.
Among the guest speakers at the SOYA were Atty, Rowena Guanzon, former commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec); Rodne Galicha, national conveyor of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas; Filipino-American Historian Kirby Pabalan-Tayag Araullo; and Aki Liongson, deputy secretary general of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).