THE National Youth Commission (NYC) is advocating for youth participation in governance and be the government’s partner for change.

NYC commissioner for Luzon Percival Cendaña, in an interview during the second quarter Cordillera Regional Youth Advisory Council meeting, said the agency’s priority now is for the approval of the, guided by the Philippine Youth Development Plan (PDYP) 2017 to 2022, whose focus is on youth participation.

The plan was presented to the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster of the Cabinet, and NYC hopes it will be adopted through an executive order and be included in the State of Nation Address (Sona) of President Rodrigo Duterte in July.

Cendaña outlined with the PYDP, there would be shift from the usual frame of governance wherein the youth are the beneficiaries of programs or services to youth participation; not just as recipients but as partners in nation building, as partners for change for the better.

The challenge is how to encourage youth participation in governance, in education, health, economy and even security and peace so that they will not remain in the tail, end of the governance process.

Cendaña also said the NYC is pressing for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or youth council election to push through this October, with or without the barangay election.

The Commission on Election has affirmed readiness to conduct the scheduled simultaneous youth council and barangay election in October this year.

“We understand the motivation behind the need to postpone the barangay election but we feel in relation to the war on drugs, the SK is a crucial partner of the government. Thus, we are sincerely urging government, particularly the legislators to reconsider the postponement of both. Perhaps what can be postponed is the barangay election but we can push through with the SK election,” Cendaña said.

There must be greater attention given to engaging young people so that they can move away from the present youth concerns such as risky sexual and non–sexual behaviors, or even from being lured by insurgent groups, Cendaña enjoined.

“Through SK, our young people can have an outlet in finding meaning about compassion, about integrity and in promoting peace and development. SK is the only community level organization that they can be part of, so if they have energies, passion and aspiration in finding meaning, perhaps they can find it through SK,” he said. (PIA)