Power of Pasaway

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By Perci Cendaña

Youth Advocate

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


THE National Youth Commission (NYC) facilitates the participation of young Filipinos in various international exchanges, seminars, conferences and trainings. Through these programs, the NYC hopes to broaden perspective of Filipino youth leaders. When our delegates return home, they have pasalubong for their schools, organizations and communities in the form of new ideas and a greater sense of commitment to lead and to serve.

Among those who regularly and actively participate in NYC's international programs are the youth of the Cordilleras. Part of the seven-person Philippine delegation to the Youth Camp for Asia's Future 2014 organized by the National Council of Youth Organizations in Korea (NCYOK) to be held this August is a young communications professor of UP Baguio, Ms. Janine Kaye Toca.

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Young people draw power from being pasaway. In their refusal to accept the status quo, they imagine a better life, a better future, for them and their communities. Being pasaway is a strange combination of discontent, stubbornness, imagination and optimism.

For the past 11 years, the winners of the search for the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) embody these somewhat peculiar but potent tendencies and values. They may come from various parts of the country and belong to different youth sectors but they have one thing in common, they want to find solutions.

Their projects and programs are the solutions they offer to address the problems of their communities. Some of these problems have been so persistent that the grown-ups have already given up on them. They are pasaway because they refuse to throw in the towel and accept things as they are. The power of imagination and idealism lead and drive them to creative solutions.

Innovation and creativity are territories of the young. These are also the distinctive mark of TAYO winners.

Angat Kabataan, a group of young residents of Taytay, Rizal, won one of the coveted spots in TAYO10 because they are classic pasaway. They refused to accept the reality of living and growing old beside a clogged, polluted and foul-smelling waterway ironically name Maningning Creek which also caused perennial flooding in their area. The group decided to take on the 30-year-old problem by launching a massive and sustained clean-up drive coupled with educating the community. But even these efforts were not enough to fully restore the once thriving creek because of the sheer volume of filth that has accumulated through the years.

Because they are pasaway to core, these young people did not give up. Instead they persisted in exploring innovative ways to address their community's problem. They chanced upon a technology called bokashi balls which are made of clay mixed with live micro-organisms. These balls filter the water and compact the soil underneath. After months of regular clean-up and many bokashi balls, the creek showed signs of life being true to its name Maningning.

Pasaway is to never give up. That's what Angat Kabataan did. They also went on to win the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) TAYO in 2012.

In next week's column, the many pasaway of the Cordilleras.

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Last Monday, the NYC celebrated its 19th anniversary. Republic Act 8044 or the Youth In Nation-building Act was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on June 30, 1995. This law mandated the creation of a youth commission under the Office of the President. The first chairperson of the Commission was Amina Rasul-Bernardo. Formers officials of the NYC include prominent political leaders like Senators Bam Aquino and Koko Pimentel, and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.

Thank you to the active young and "young at heart" partners of the NYC for the past 19 years.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 03, 2014.

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