Davao to host youth leaders from ASEAN, Japan

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 13 Nov) – The city will host youth leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan on Sunday as part of the activities during the four-day stay of the delegates for Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP) in the Philippines.

Steve Laurence Arquiza, former commissioner of the National Youth Commission (NYC), told reporters Monday that at least 13 visitors — 11 youth leaders, Philippine national leader, and ship administrator – out of more than 300 SSEAYP delegates will come and visit some of the city’s tourism destinations.

This is the first time that the Japanese government will bring some delegates on a side trip to a city in Mindanao despite concerns on security, he said.

“We are happy that they decided to include Davao in the program. The Japanese government, especially its Japanese consulate here in Davao, sends out advisories to residents in Mindanao because of the security situation. Regardless of those issues, they decided to bring in the program here,” Arquiza, a former Philippine delegate to SSEAYP, said.

He said bringing SSEAYP delegates to Davao shows the “trust and confidence” of the organizers on the security preparation of the city and its capability to hold meaningful activities.

Arquiza hopes the participants will encourage more people to visit the city when they return to their home countries at the end of the 53-day program.

The delegates are scheduled to meet City Mayor Sara Duterte and visit Davao City’s Central 911, Public Safety and Security Command Center, Chocolate Museum of the Malagos Garden Resort, and Amiya Resorts Residences.

The SSEAYP is a program created after the signing of a joint statement issued in January 1974 between Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines Singapore, and Thailand. More countries – Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao, Myanmar, and Camboadia – later joined in the program.

Arquiza said SSEAYP aims to promote friendship and mutual understanding among the youths of Japan and the 10 member countries of the ASEAN and broaden their perspective of the international community by strengthening their practical skills and enhancing their knowledge on different social issues.

The SSEAYP delegates, who will stay in the Philippines from November 17 to 20, will make institutional visits and engage with some local youth and take part in discussion groups to understand more the current issues.

They will also experience Filipino culture during the three-day homestay program.

“The participating youths are expected to cultivate their leadership skills in the different fields tackling issues involving mainly the youth as stakeholders of the nation-building,” Atquiza said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)