By Jagel Mae S. Escandor
Gubat, Sorsogon --- Some 1,000 youth, youth leaders, and youth groups from 42 barangays of this town gathered for the launching of Municipal Alliance of Youth Advocates for Development or MAYAD-Gubat held Saturday afternoon, December 2.
The Local Government Unit of Gubat organized the launching as part of the program of the municipal government to engage the youth in governance and development building. in partnership with the 2030 Youth Force, a movement of young people across Asia and the Pacific implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
MAYAD-Gubat, a federation of different youth, youth leaders, and youth groups in the town, aims to unite the young people of Gubat to become the local government’s partner in pushing the interest and concerns of the youth and enable them to contribute to the municipality’s local development.
The alliance will serve as a platform where the members can present, discuss, and recommend the youth’s agenda to the officials in the local level and subsequently align these agenda to the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or more commonly known as ‘Global Goals’.
Alignment of Goals
The participating youth engaged in small group discussion and workshop about UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the help of volunteers from 2030 Youth Force, a movement of young people across Asia and the Pacific implementing the ’Global Goals’ in the Philippines.
A group of youth speakers from 2030 Youth Force facilitated workshops, which tackle the Global Goals and how the participants can apply them in the local setting.
By orienting the young people of Gubat with SDGs, they can become aware of different social development issues that are being faced by many countries, especially third world countries like the Philippines. These issues are also prevalent concerns in the local level.
Joyce Estrellado, 17, from barangay Tigkiw, an upland village of Gubat, said that the workshop was useful as it tackled issues familiar to them particularly the issue on peace and order, one of the 17 Global Goals.
She shared that their barangay has faced armed conflict that beleaguered their village for a long time. For Estrellado, knowing the global goals enlightened her and her colleagues that they can do something to address the issues that hounded their barangay by engaging in LGU activities that could give sustainable solution to the root causes of conflict like poverty.
Gubat Youth Coordinator and Municipal Administrator Patrick Omar Erestain shared that the LGU sees the young people as partners in development.
“We need to acknowledge and activate their potential, and let them discover on their own how they can be able to contribute to community development. Forming the alliance is eyed as the start for them”, he said.
In her message to the youth during the launching program, Sharon Rose Glipo-Escoto, Gubat town chief, announced that the LGU has calendared series of activities in 2018 that will further engage the youth groups in local governance.
“We will include youth representatives from among these groups as members of our volunteer core groups”, Escoto shared. She added that their inclusion in the activities of the LGU is an avenue for them to be actively involved. They can also recommend programs, projects, and activities for and by the youth and consider these recommendations in the local legislation.
Chanting “ako, ikaw, kita, mayad na Gubatnon!” (me, you, and all of us are good Gubatnons!), the group went on a torch parade around the town center to assist in lighting the whole town, signifying the start of Christmas season.
As a gesture of camaraderie and unity, they ate together through a boodle fight after the parade.
To cap the one-day event, participants displayed their talents in singing and dancing through a mini-concert called Youth Jam. Local bands also performed.
Jules Guiang, one of the 2030 Youth Force volunteers that facilitated the workshop, said that LGU-Gubat and MAYAD-Gubat are their first partners outside Metro Manila and attending the MAYAD launching is the first time that they oriented a large group about SDGs.
By January 2018, he said that they would expand their alliance throughout the country with hopes that the Global Goals reach the communities, pool in concerted efforts to achieve them and gather the participation of the young members of the community.