Jude Acidre (standing) of Tingog Sinirangan leads the "Youth Voice Forum: Be heard and take action" in Tacloban. Photo courtesy of Kaye Barreda
Jude Acidre (standing) of Tingog Sinirangan leads the “Youth Voice Forum: Be heard and take action” in Tacloban. Photo courtesy of Kaye Barreda

ABOUT 74 youth leaders in Eastern Visayas have attended a forum to address various issues affecting them.

“For a youth agenda to be truly effective for the new generation it should come from you. Be the best that you can and achieve your full potential…focusing on your strengths and positive outcomes,” said Jude Acidre, a known youth leader in Eastern Visayas now turned first nominee for Tingog Sinirangan party-list.

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Dubbed as “Youth Voice Forum: Be heard and take action,” participants in the forum who mostly came from colleges and universities took the occasion to air their concerns and views on topics from life and learning, leadership and politics, health and sexuality, and employment and entrepreneurship.

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“We are aware of our plight. Eastern Visayas is the poorest region. The youth has a big role. They represent 40 percent of the registered voters in political exercise. We got a big voice,” said Glenn Capucion, the Tingog party president.

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Eastern Visayas, with its 780,378 youth ages 15-24 based in 2010 census, constitutes 4.3 percent of the country’s total youth population of 18 million.

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However, it was learned that despite its relatively low share to the national youth population, Eastern Visayas “remains to have a young population with 19.1 percent of its population in ages 15-24.”

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In a report on socio-economic demographic, health, and lifestyle, the youths in Eastern Visayas, it was revealed that its youths continue to be at risk.

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“Thirteen percent of the youths are idle, neither studying nor working, the third highest in the country. Two in five of Region VIII youth do not have any source of information about sex. Region VIII youth engage in sex at young ages,” according to a research paper on risk behavior of young people in Eastern Visayas by University of the Philippines Population Institute.

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Yet on these issues, Acidre proposed on paradigm shift to youths based on their goals.

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“Total human development should enable young people to be aware of and informed about social, political and economic needs. Provide the youths with meaningful roles in how decisions are made. Encourage them to responsibly use their time, energies and skills for the benefit of others, and practice leadership skills to address issues…,” said Acidre, adding that community involvement and collaboration is important to bring out the potentials of young people.

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“Youth are not beneficiaries. Now youth are partners. We don’t engage the youth just because we can deliver them services. We help them to contribute to society,” he said, believing that “youth flourish in a flourishing community.”

First published in The Standard

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