Youth Festival 2006: Weaving Responsibilities to Respond to the Challenges of the Times
The Youth Festival 2006 was successfully held last December 1-3, 2006 participated in by 80 young people from different parts of the region. Although the event started with an off-season typhoon hitting Metropolitan Manila, the participants braved the weather forecast to come together, conduct a series of lectures and discussions on the theme: “Weaving Responsibilities to Confront the Challenges of the Times”. This festival was organized by the Charter for Human Responsibilities Facilitation Team in the Philippines to promote the concept and practice of responsibility among the youth.
Gathered together were young people mostly from underprivileged families and sectors - students and out-of-school youths, representatives from different ethno-linguistic groups like Aetas from Zambales, Hanonoos and Manabos from Agusan del Sur, Tausug from Tawi-tawi, and Muslims from Lanao, Kalingas from the Cordillera, Tagalos from Cavite, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and the NCR, Cebuanos from Cebu, Tacloban, Ormoc, and Davao, Bicolanos from Camarines Sur and Ilongos from Iloilo. Most of the participants belonged to the following underprivileged sectors of Philippine society - urban poor, fisherfolks, farmers, indigenous peoples, workers sectors.
The participating organizations include UP Village Sangguniang Kabataan – the local youth government council in UP Village, Quezon City, Buklod Tao Foundation – the urban poor organization on environment and disaster preparedness in San Mateo, Rizal, Center for Positive Futures - a high school for economically disadvantaged children, Bayanihan Compassionate Economy-VEDCOR - an NGO engaged in youth leadership training for socio-economic development, SANLAKAS - a multisectoral confederation struggling for nationalism, democracy, justice and people’s welfare, Samaka - urban poor organization of overseas Filipino worker (OFW)-families in Bgy. Escopa, Quezon City organized by the NGO Kanlungan, a women migrant organization, Kamigma – also an urban poor organization of OFW families in Bgy. Botocan, Quezon City organized by Kanlungan, ECPAT-Philippines - a children’s network against trafficking of children, Community of Learners’ Foundation - a child-friendly school which is into integrated learning and heavy on outreach programs, Organization for Training, Research and Development Foundation (OTRADEV) - an organization of social development professionals with advocacy for rural development, Samahang Kabataan- Zambales - a youth organization of Aeta in a relocation center in Botolan, Tuklas Katutubo – an organization of Aeta people in Botolan, Zambales, ISO, Camarines – an organization of fisherfolks in Camarines, Bicol, PRRYA-PRRM – an organization of fisherfolks in Cavite, San Pedro Relocation Center National High School - a public high school in San Pedro, Laguna, Kalinga National High School - a public high school in Kalinga-Apayao, Mountain Province, MAKALAYA, a young women’s organization in Alangalang, Leyte and Culiat, Quezon City, ECLIPSE - an NGO working on children rural workers in the sugarfields of Ormoc, Leyte, Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts – an NGO working among indigenous groups in Agusan del Sur, SALAM – educational institute in Muslim Tawi-tawi, MIT – educational institute also in Muslim, Tawi-tawi, Liga ng Sosyalistang Kabataan – youth arm of a farmers’ organization in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija, Union of Progressive Students, UP-Cebu - a student organization based in the University of the Philippines-Cebu, and Christian Foundation for Children and Aging – an NGO engaged in advocacy for children and senior citizens with base in Antipolo, Rizal and Antique, Panay Island.
Plenary resource persons of the Festival were: Ernesto Cloma of the prestigious theatrical group Philippine Education Theater Association (PETA), who guided the young people through a realization of the history of the movement of the Philippine youth through play-acting, Dr. Sylvia H. Guerrero of the Center of Women’s Studies, University of the Philippines who shared about the socio-cultural concept of responsibilities in the Philippine psyche, presenting the Filipino “banca” as a symbol of responsibility among family, community and nation, and cultural artist Ms. Grace Nono, who facilitated the Closing Program and who explained that all Filipinos, no matter the cultural differences and ethno-linguistic aggrupation, are indigenous to the Philippines, and thus share a common cultural heritage.
On the second day, the 80 young people were subdivided into four thematic workshop groups that discussed the following themes:
Thematic resource speakers were Feny delos Angeles-Bautista of the Community of Learners foundation for “Education for All”, Jun Quicho for Sustainable Environment, Ian Rivera of the Lean Alejandro Foundation for Peace and Rights, and Nini Tolentino of the Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO) and Aleli Bawagan for Cultural, Gender and Youth Identity.
On the evening of the first day, two short video documentaries were presented showing the concept of responsibility and promoting the Charter for Human Responsibilities. The first is a video on how the indigenous peoples of Mindoro – the Iraya Mangyans – exercise responsibility in their community, among their people and for their environment. The second, “An Offering to the Earth” presents traditional Filipino values on responsibility and how Filipinos exercised responsibilities for the family, community and nation. It also presented the challenges to current problems and the need to celebrate responsibility as a value in view of these challenges. The first video was produced by OTRADEV and the second by the Center for Positive Futures.
On the second night, the participants had a good time during the Solidarity Night. It was a time when the young people shared their dances, songs, and other talents to the crowd. Young people from the metropolis were awed with the costumes, songs and dances of indigenous peoples. On the other hand, two girls from the metropolis sang rock music to the delight of the young participants. Another well-applauded presentation was a dance tune composed and presented by rural children workers from Ormoc, Leyte in Southern Philippines. The body joined the presenters in a community dance of this lively tune.
Two cultural groups were invited during the Festival to grace the event. During the Opening Program, urban poor young people from Kalayaan, Quezon City, from the cultural group, LIKHAD, presented a prayer in interpretative style, forming words by joining hands.
On the second day, the CPF Banaba Chorale and Dance Group sang the national anthem in tableau, followed by the song, “Responsibility”. The first line reads: “No one lives by him/herself alone; all of us have a responsibility for each other. In the afternoon, the group presented a local dance from Southern Philippines that ended in a community dance participated by all.
At the end of the three-day Youth Festival, the young people formulated a Covenant on the Responsibilities of Young People, currently being translated from Filipino to English. It embodies the vision of the young people, their conditions, challenges and resolutions in general, towards the environment and in the fields of education, peace, rights, and identity.
Festival organizers were Fleur de Lys (Pinky) C. Cupino of the Center for Positive Futures, Flora A. Santos of SANLAKAS, Marilou (Matcy) B. Cerilla and Ma. Corazon (Cowa) G. Gratuito of the Organization for Training, Research and Development, Merlyn Tabada-Martinez of the Children’s World, and Prof. Aleli B. Bawagan of the University of the Philippines College of Social Work and Community Development.
The follow-up activity shall be another Youth Festival in the summer of 2008. This time, the Festival shall be a culmination of a year-long contest on youth initiatives taking on responsibilities for the community. The contest shall be launched in April of 2007.
You can download the brochure of the Youth Festival by cliking here: