Members of the Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. work together to climb the initiative wall during the group’s integration activity last Oct. 2 to 3. The successful climbing of the initiative wall signified their commitment towards responsible youth leadership and active citizenship through ALEx.
Apathy or the young people’s lack of care towards social issues was ranked first among the problems faced by the youth today.
This was identified by youth leaders of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) in an integration activity held last October 2 to 3 at Mountain View Nature Park.
They also identified the need for good governance, better participation, and prioritization of the youth in government. Problems on out-of-school youth and its attendant issues like pre-marital sex, drug addiction, fraternity war, prostitution and unemployment were also recognized.
The integration activity was conducted to strengthen the Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx), the youth organization of RAFI established through the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (EADSC). It also served as a venue for new ALEx members to know the organization more and for old members to renew their commitment.
Apart from issues affecting the youth, the participants also identified possible solutions and defined the role of ALEx in addressing such problems.
“There is a need for the youth to have a collective and strong voice in advocating for change, given their (big population),” Dominica B. Chua, Chief Operating Officer of RAFI, told the participants.
This was affirmed by the Philippine Youth Situationer presented by sociologist Aldwin Empaces, one of the ALEx conveners, who pointed out the huge percentage of the youth in the current population, and the call for young people to have a concerted effort towards addressing problems affecting them and the country in general.
EADSC found out that about 30 percent of the country’s population is below 21 years of age, reflecting a fairly young citizenry.
The Islands Group Chairman Jay Aldeguer, one of guest speakers of the event, also shared his belief on the greater capability of today’s youth to make a difference in society through the availability of technology and access to information.
Believing in the principle that real life begins not in any particular age but at the moment one gains consciousness of the world, Aldeguer also challenged the ALEx members to start fulfilling their dreams for the Philippines now.
Other speakers were Cebu Institute of Technology-University Supreme Student Government President Alan Angelo Llevares, Liloan Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Gianne Sanchez, and Kindernothilfe National Coordinator for the Philippines Jiah Sayson, who shared their experiences in promoting active citizenship as youth leaders in various fields. Llevares, Sanchez and Sayson are also members of ALEx.
ALEx is composed of graduates from RAFI’s youth programs such as the Young Minds Academy, Young Minds on Xplore, and Kool Adventure Camp. It serves as a platform for proactive youth leaders to continue enhancing their competence, strengthening their character, and initiating and spearheading efforts towards nation-building.
ALEx was formed in 2009 under the Leadership & Citizenship focus area of RAFI, one of the five key focus areas in RAFI’s comprehensive approach to elevating lives and communities. Its other focus areas are Integrated Development, Culture & Heritage, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship, and Education.