MY, MY, MY MARAWI: Reviving youth passion in a new administration

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/20 May) — It was rejuvenating to revive youth passion, cross paths and share notes and ideas on peacebuilding with fellow alumnus of the National Youth Parliament Atty. Meong Cabarde in Cotabato City at Em Manor.

He commanded 8000 volunteers from Catholic schools all over the Davao region for the BLUE VOTE, a non partisan effort for CHAMP, honest polls, cool ! Still reeling from sleepless nights, they even had RMA or random manual audit.

I know the fulfilling feeling in working on the ideal polls, so it was a joy to hear about the Davao youth which resonated with our work in Lanao del Sur, the touted cheating capital of the country. We are trying to combat that with youth empowerment.

While I belong to the 1st batch of NYP, Meong Cabarde is so younger; he belongs to the later batches. NYP is a mechanism organized by government particularly the National Youth Commission (NYC) to convene youth leaders every two years to draft resolutions like legislators of national importance. Inspired by our NYP experience, Meong and I go way back in having organized a successor generation summit in a Mindanao Young Leaders Parliament. It is a venue to craft resolutions to be submitted to concerned agencies.

The concern in our facebook page, NYPAA, is what the youth agenda is.

Meong, now a lawyer, is an executive holding a chief post at the Ateneo de Davao University. Fr Joel Taborda, its President, trusts him that he brought him to this small meeting of “elders” of the peace movement which tackled steps forward in this administration.

We Friends of Peace are blessed that he along with Fr. Joel are willing to help on the vital task of sustaining the gains of the half a century of peace agreements. People have to stand up and remind leaders about signed documents and the doables, commitments.

FOP was called by Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, sometime last February just a week or so after Mamasapano to preserve the gains of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The group was diverse with people from law, CSOs, youth. Friends of the Bangsamoro in Manila got inspiration from the group as well which had Inquirer columnist Randy David sit in one session.

NYP will reconvene anew in a few months, Meong updates.

He inquires. NYC posts are vacant. As if asking if we would be interested. I urge youth leaders who would sacrifice and have a stellar record in work ethics to spare, shell out time to be heard on this process.

NYP as an alumni association has stuck it out outside government working with then commissioner Koko Pimentel and about four other NYC Chairpersons on youth development.

NYC and NYP alumni have always been at a mutually supportive relationship, although often at odds on some policies. But always, the common thread to serve the youth is what binds.

We remember two commissioners flying out to Davao to attend a small caucus outside the Mindanao Young Leaders Parliament being held in Ateneo de Davao to hear grievances and sentiments. Things have a way of easing into respecting one’s space.

We hope the new administration with its high political capital gets to hear not just the minority but also the majority of the population, the youth. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNew. Samira A. Gutoc-Tomawis, Ll.B., is former assemblywoman, women sector, of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; former director, Al-Amanah Islamic Bank, Inc.; former director, Marawi Resort Hotel, Inc. See her blog at