We recently chaired a Senate Youth Committee public hearing on measures that we believe could have a significant impact on young Filipinos, many of whom, over the past two years, have spent a considerable amount of their time in indoors and isolated from crowds and gatherings. .
Of course, the pandemic is not over yet. But our country’s accelerated vaccination program and more effective treatment methods give us high hopes that a return to normal will soon be achieved. And that is why we have chosen to deliberate on measures establishing or institutionalizing various government programs that serve as extracurricular activities for young Filipinos, in anticipation of a more active and mobile youth population in the months and years to come. .
One such measure designates the National Young Artists Competitions (NAMCYA) as the Philippine National Music Youth Development Program, in recognition of the former’s contribution to the development and promotion of Filipino music as a art, and the training of young musical prodigies. Across the country.
NAMCYA, which has been around for nearly five decades, holds annual competitions to recognize outstanding young Filipino musicians. In fact, NAMCYA has produced around 130 accomplished musicians, many of whom have become highly respected music teachers at home and abroad. Several have won their share of international competitions, performed for foreign audiences and become members of world-renowned orchestras.
Some of them include Jonathan Velasco, a choirmaster who was a member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers; Alfonso ‘Coke’ Bolipata, a concert violinist who later established the Center for the Arts in San Antonio, Zambales; Dr. Renato Lucas, who is the current president of NAMCYA and professor at the UST Conservatory; and the Loboc Children’s Choir which has won various international music competitions. With NAMCYA’s legendary existence, it is fitting that the government continues to provide NAMCYA with funding, use of space and facilities, and other means of support.
Another measure was to create the Young Farmers and Fishermen Challenge program, with the aim of encouraging more young people to take up farming or fishing. This is particularly timely because, according to a 2020 University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños study, the average age of a farmer has risen to 53, from 46 measured in 1966.
This measure, which calls for a whole-of-government approach, aims to increase youth participation in agriculture and fishing by outlining the roles of various government agencies in access to knowledge and information, land, financial services, jobs”, new markets and clienteles. By encouraging our young population to engage in farming and fishing, we are opening up the sector to new ideas and innovation, which the industry badly needs. We also hope that through this bill we can make farming and fishing more exciting and appealing (“sexy” even) to Filipino youth.
Meanwhile, the committee also approved a measure declaring August 12 every year as National Youth Day and institutionalizing the conduct of activities in connection with the celebration. This measure aligns with the United Nations (UN) resolution to designate the same date as International Youth Day to remember that young men and women are essential partners in community development and human development. It is also in recognition of the many contributions of young people – whether through social media, civic work or pioneering and innovative industries – to the overall growth of our country, even in the face of a seemingly crippling pandemic.
Finally, the committee also approved a bill that mandates the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) to organize a youth summer camp in preparation for the increased mobility of our young Filipinos in the future. Through this measure, SKs will work with government agencies and other youth and youth organizations to organize these camps and formulate various courses that include national situationers on youth issues, leadership, writing, taking public speaking, sports and fitness, mental health wellness, digital skills development, entrepreneurship, cultural awareness, environmental awareness, promotion of human rights, personal development, financial education and industries of the future.
These measures will help to empower our young people to become more active participants in nation building. We hope that once the Senate session resumes after the general election, we may be able to refine these bills further. Either way, Congress has always worked to ensure that the country has enough opportunities for our young people to thrive, which in turn would also benefit the country in the long run.
Senator Sonny Angara has been in public service for 17 years. He has drafted and sponsored over 200 laws. He is currently serving his second term in the Senate.
E-mail: [email protected]| Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @sonnyangara
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