Building Augustinian leaders

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Thursday, July 31, 2014


MORE than 200 Augustinian elementary, high school and college students; and faculty and campus organization advisers converged at the Northland Resort in Manapla, Negros Occidental last July 25 to 27 for the 7th Annual Gathering for Building Augustinian Youth-Action Networking (AGBAYAN).

The acronym AGBAYAN also connotes Agustino at Bayan.

This annual leadership training was established in December 2008 by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs of the University of San Agustin- Iloilo (USA-I).

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The pioneer batch was composed of student leaders of the USA-I. The project gradually reached out to other major Augustinian schools across the country.

This year, aside from the USA-I and the host school, Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod (CSA-B), representatives from Colegio San Agustin-Biñan, Colegio Sto. Nino-Cebu, San Jose Catholic School-Iloilo, La Consolacion College-Bacolod, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos and the St. Thomas of Villanova Institute in Quezon City attended the AGBAYAN training.

The delegates experienced camaraderie and esprit de corps while listening to a battery of inspirational speakers who shared their experience on school and community service and on their unwavering faith in God and countrymen.

In his welcome message, Fray Urminico Baronda IV, OSA, vice president for Student Affairs and External Relations of CSA-B, impressed upon the participants the theme of the gathering, “Caritas: The Authentic Power of Service and Pillar of Hope,” saying that it is a reminder that their knowledge, leadership skills and ethical values should be of service and a light of hope to their fellow students in their respective institutions.

Fr. Wilboy Bracamonte, OSA, campus minister and chaplain of CSA-B, who was the celebrant of the Mass on the first day of the leadership camp, exhorted everyone to be an ASTIG, that is, “Always Striving to Impress God.”

For his part, Fr. Leo Mario Singco, OSA, house treasurer and parochial vicar of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Quezon City, stressed that an Augustinian leader is a Christian leader. He summed up the three core Augustinian values as Unitas, Caritas and Veritas, being the context of the popular Augustinian motto: “One Mind, One Heart, Intent Upon God.”

John Paul Petrola and Eric Divinagracia of USA-I lectured on campus organizations advising and goal setting, respectively. Ricardo Salanap Jr. of CSA-B lectured on budget proposal-making, liquidation and documentation.

Ben Secretario, program head of Project POGI (Promoting Outstanding Governance and Initiatives), shared how the project changed Naga City people’s perception of being poor and passive residents into a creative and dynamic participant in community-building.

Dr. Michael Dellaliarte shared his experience as the founder/director of I Can Make A Difference and as incorporator of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation in enabling the residents of a remote island in Mindanao by teaching them how to use tin cans to trap solar rays in purifying their drinking water, thus preventing the outbreak of diarrhea.

He also shared how the children were able to go to a school through the yellow boat that was donated by caring individuals and groups.
Prim Paypon of Bacolod City, founder of The Dream Project, shared that through creative education, social design innovation and youth voluntraining, their project aims to raise self, setups, values, passion, quality time, commitment and stories of inspiration.

Next year’s Agbayan will be held in Iloilo.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 31, 2014.

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