First of all let me thank you for your very warm welcome that you gave to me as I arrived here today in your campuses. On this occasion where I am to give you a short talk about the efforts that we, in peace process that we are conducting in Muslim Mindanao and it has come to be known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law. I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all of you here today because it gives me great satisfaction and honour to be able to be in touch with you, to touch base and share with the students of our higher educational institution the results of the work that we do in the senate as your elected representatives. Especially on this very contentious and sensitive subject. But on the matter of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which portends great impact on our country and our people and from which not only students of political science and other politically inclined students, but all students concerned about the state of our politics, about our government, about our nation, from which I hope you will be able to pick up some important lectures.
But first allow me to assure everybody, wala’y iisang but I guess speaking on behalf of your professors they might suddenly pagbalik ninyo sa classroom magkaroon ng pop quiz na ang palagay ko di naman siguro. As addition. So, what we are talking about here, when we talked about the Bangsamoro Basic Law, has always been to talk about what we are trying to do in the peace process. And people might ask about why is it that it is important to a Cebuano to talk about what is going on in Mindanao? And the reason that I say it is important. I say it is important because we still have to continue the peace process because if there is fighting in Mindanao there is going to be, it is still a problem not only for Mindanao but for the entire Philippines. And that is why for the last year, mag iisang taon na ito na aming tinatrabaho itong Bangsamoro Basic Law. Marami pa tayong kailangan gawin at sa kasalukuyang ay nakikita natin na ang lahat ng mga iba’t-ibang grupo ay nakikipag ugnay padin. Sinasabi tungkol kung ano sa palagay nila ang mga aming dapat gawin. But these are some of the subjects that are the wide ranging subjects that we talked about here in the senate. But I would like to go back also to the subject about youth empowerment.
As I have made during the introduction, ako ang sumulat ng batas na nagbuo ng Philippine Youth Commission. Itong Philippine Youth commission iyon ang tinawag namin nung sinulat naming ang batas. But it has since become the National Youth commission. Now why was that important to me? That was my first bill that I filed and authored in congress. That was back when the first time that I was in congress in 1992-93, or 94. Dahil sa aking palagay, napaka importante na ang kabataan natin ay involved sa pamahalaan. Na involved sa mga issues tungkol nga sa ating mga iba’t-ibang, iba’t ibang bagay. And why is it important that young people have a voice, have an involvement in government? And the reason I say it is important.
There are several reasons. Number one, young people have a very distinct demographic. Ang Pilipinas ay isa sa mga pinaka bata. We are one of the youngest countries in the world. And the largest demographic, the largest sector in our society is the youth. And that is why, we cannot for in anyway say that we are a democratic government if we do not give a voice to the youth. We have to constantly always remind ourselves that the young people have a very important role to play.
Secondly, young people have distinct issues. Ang mga inaalala ng mga kabataan ay mga bagay-bagay na hindi masyadong inaalala ng mga nakakatanda. Dahil, for example yung you are worried about schooling. You are worried about matrikulasyon. You are worried about bullying, that is directed against young people. All of these issues are distinct to young people. And without a voice in government, our young people, will be unable to make their feelings known to the government. And the government will never be able to solve those problems because those problems have not been made known to the government. And many times maraming bagay, maraming mga isyu, may mga problema na ating nakikita na hindi naman, pagka sinasabi problema ng kabataan yan, dapat hindi lamang ang problema ng kabataan ang naririnig natin, kung hindi pati ang mga solusyon diyan sa problemang yan at kadalasan ang solusyon sa problemang yan ay manggagaling sa kabataan din.
And thirdly, and very importantly, kami naman na nasa gobyerno ngayon, hindi naman kami nandito, lilipas din naman kami, mawawala din naman kami, at darating ang panahon na kayo na, na mga kabataan ang uupo dito sa mga mataas na posisyon sa gobyerno. Kaya napaka importante na ang ating mga kabataan ay nakakaunawa kung papaano patakbuhin ang pamahalaan. Paano patakbuhin at paano ayusin ang mga problema na pag dumating ang araw na ang mga bata ang nakaupo na, nakaluklok na sa mataas na posisyon ay makikita natin ay napaka importante na sila ay sanay na at makakapagbigay ng tulong sa mga issue na lumalabas di lamang sa mga kabataan kung hindi sa buong bansa. That is why it is very important and I was very happy to be an inducting officer for the supreme student government of the Cebu Eastern College because this is precisely, these due officers that we have inducted here today they are the beginnings of the involvement of the young people in government. That is something that we consistently try to encourage in our government.
Noong panahon pa, noong nakaraan, kung ngayon mayroon tayong tinatawag na “Sangguniang Kabataan”, noong nakaraan, when my father was still president mayroon kaming tinatawag na “Youth Movement” ang tawag ay “Kabataang Baranggay”. Iyan ang nauna sa SK. Iyong sa ‘Kabataang Barangay”, ay simple lamang ang aming sinasabi. At lagi namin sinasabi sa mga kabataan “kailangan ma-involve kayo. Kailangan kayo lumabas at magsabi kayo kapag mayroon kayong nakikitang hindi tamang nangyayari. Kapag may naisip kayong kailangang gagawin, meron kayong dapat sabihin. At simple lamang dati ang slogan namin at iyan ay palagay ko ay applicable parin ito hanggang ngayon. And I will encourage again the newly inducted officers of the Supreme Student Government of the Eastern College to remember a very simple idea. This is not complicated. It is very easy. It is very effective. At ang dati naming sigaw doon sa Kabataang Barangay, ang lagi naming sinisigaw ay napaka simple lamang.
Ang sigaw namin ay: “MAKIELAM! MAKIELAM! MAKIELAM!” Pag mayroon kayong nakikita na hindi tamang nangyayari, makielam kayo at magsalita kayo! Na pag kayo’y may naisip na mas magandang paraan sa pagkagawa, makielam kayo at (10:31 ipalapat or lapad) ninyo. Pagka mayroong kayong nakikita na katiwalian sa pagkakamali ng kahit na matataas at powerful na officials, makielam padin kayo. Dahil kailangan namin ang inyong interest at ng inyong pagsasama at paglalahok sa pamahalaan. It’s very important to us who are in the government now, to continuously hear from you. What are your ideas? What are the new elements that you believe are important to you? And that’s why bukod sa aking pagbuo ng National Youth Commission ay sa nakaraang ilang buwan ay ginawan din namin ng paraan para ayusin at gawing mas maganda ang Sangguniang Kabataan or ang SK. At ang aming ginawa, ay tinignan namin kung ano ang pagkukulang at maraming nagbabatikos sa Sk at sinasabi na hindi naman daw effective, na hindi naman raw nakakatulong. Ang mga kabataan kakaunti lamang ang nagagawa. Ang mga kabataan ay sinasabi ay naging pugad lang ng korupsyon, na tinuturuan daw ng mga bata ang matatanda ang mga kabataan maging korupt. E kako bakit nyo naman paparusahan ang mga bata dahil ang mga matatanda naman ang nagtuturo ng kalokohan sa bata. Wala namang corrupt na bata. Nagiging corrupt nalang iyan dahil tinuruan ng matanda. And so we have tried to change the system of barangay government especially as it comes to the youth movements.
That is why we continue to make these amendments. Mayroon kaming batas ngayon na tinatawag namin “The Reform Bill for the Sangguniang Kabataan”. At ito’y para naming sinasagot lahat ng aming mga, lahat ng mga batikos, lahat ng sinasabing pagkukulang ng SK at ng sa ganoong paraan ay aming pinagsasama sama ang lahat ng mga interesado na tumulong sa mga kabataan.
Ngayon, noong nakaraan, ang SK, ang mga nakaupo lamang diyan ay ang mga elected SK officials. Ngayon, ay sinasama na naming ang lahat ng iba’t-ibang grupo. Halimbawa, pag napasa na itong batas na ito, yang lahat ng bagong inducted officers na ito ay magiging kasama na. Ang tawag naming sa buong organisasyon ay ang “Katipunan ng Kabataan”. At isang bahagi lamang ang SK diyan. At itong mga school based na organization kagaya ng Cebu Supreme Government ay masasama na. Makikipag ugnay na, ma-iinvolve na at mabibigay din ang kanilang kontribusyon sa mga susunod na sa mga pangangailangan ng mga kabataan. Pangalawa, tinandaan namin ang pag pondo para sa mga proyekto ng mga kabataan. Dahil sa ngayon, nakakaawa naman iyong mga SK. Ang nangyayari lamang pagka pinaantay nila ang kanilang mga pondo, iyong share nila na mang gagaling sa baranggay, kung minsan ay nasasabi sa mga SK ay wala na. Nagamit na sa ibang bagay. Kaya naman kawawa din naman iyong ating mga SK kung minsan nakikita natin ay wala na silang ginawa kundi mag fund raising.
That’s why it is very important that we give the young people an opportunity to take some initiative and those initiatives are going to be something that are going to be very, very important. That is something that we are hoping to find. We are going to change the training program for our SK officials, for our Katipunan ng kabataan. So that they are more aware of that only job that they have to do. That they are also aware of all of the history, all of the different ideology, of the political experiments that we have tried when we were in the past since we had the Republic of the Philippines.
And so that is why we need still continue to give the support of the young people at wag ninyong makakalimutan, wag ninyong pababayaan na sasabihin niyong a student government is something that only concerns your own school. That is not true. A student government is something that concerns, that is part of the youth movement of the entire country. You must not limit your thinking to saying ‘Dito lang! Dito lang sa Cebu Eastern College ang aming pag uusapan!’ Hindi totoo iyan. Kailangan tignan ninyo ang lahat ng mga nangyayari. Hindi lamang sa Cebu kundi sa buong bansa. Kailngan ninyo din tignan na malaman kung ano ba talaga ang mga isyu. Papaano maipaparamdam sa amin ito. Paano magiging epekto sa amin. Kung ito ba ay tama, kung ito ba ay mali sainyong pananaw.and your opinions still do count.
And as I said, because the young people of our country today are the largest group. The largest sector. Then we have to say, we have to recognize the importance of these young men and women who are inducted here today into the student government. And it is important also because education is a central issue of young people. And that is why school based student government is extremely important. It is something that we must continue to encourage. It is something we must continue to make sure that all the schools, not only here in the eastern College but all the schools have an active and vibrant student government so that the process, the democratic process continues to thrive and is begun in the minds and in the hearts of our young people ng maaga pa.
So at this point I would like to congratulate our newly inducted officers. I am sure that what I have said here today, what the message I have given here today will be given, will be said that this is an important part of your life, of your scholastic career. It is an important part of all that you will do in the future. Hindi lamang dito sa eskwelahan, kung hindi, iyong mga matututunan ninyo, yung mga mararanasan ninyo, ay madadala ninyo kahit pagkatapos na ninyo sa mga eskwelahan. So that is a very simple idea but it is a very important idea. And I hope it is an idea not only our student officers will take to heart but I hope it is an idea that all of you will take to heart and will in the end make part of your life not only in your school but even when you have left school, when you have graduated, when you have taken your place in society.
This is the hope. This is the aim of the youth movement. This is what we are working for. I hope that you join us and support us in that work. We hope that you involve yourselves in this advocacy. I hope that one day, we will see you young men and women as leaders of our country. As leaders of our society. Making the important decisions that need to be made to make the Philippines a better place. To continue to help our countrymen. To continue to make our local communities better. This now what we do today. Kami ngayon na ako’y Senador, ako’y nakaupo sa Senado, marami kaming mga matataas na opisyal pero lahat ng aming ginagawa ay hindi para sa sarili namin, lahat ng aming ginagawa ay para sa kabuhayan ninyo sa pagdating ng panahon. At kami, di na namin siguro mararamdaman ang magiging epekto nitong mga aming ginagawa ngayon ngunit kayo ang magmamana niyang lahat.
So you all will be what we are honing the custodians of the government. We are honing the custodians of the country. You. It is you who will live that future that we are creating for you today. The present is merely, the birthplace of the future.
So again, you have to be part of the making of that future. You have to be part of the betterment of our future. Not only for your school, not only for Cebu, not only for the Philippines, not only for your family, but to the entire world.
As we have seen the world has changed greatly and this has been brought about by young people. The great changes that were made in the world were not made by very old people. Most of the most important changes that were made, were made by young people. Kung titignan ninyo ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, karamihan ng ating mga naging bayani na nagbuo ng bansa ng Pilipinas ay wala pa sa trenta anyos. Most of our heroes that we talked about, Aguinaldo, Mabini, Bonifacio, lahat sila, lahat sila wala pa silang trenta anyos. Yung kanilang ginawa na pagbuo at ipinaglaban ang ating bansa. And that is the legacy that they passed on to you. Grab that legacy with both hands. Make it your own and make our Philippines the better place. This is what your country asks of you. This is what we know that the young people of the Philippines can do. This is the role that you will play to create your own future.
I congratulate our new officers! And I congratulate all of you for the good work that you will do in the future for your communities and for our nation! Thank you and good morning!