COTABATO CITY – Vice President Leni Robredo led the awarding ceremony Thursday to 10 youth organizations who won this year’s “Angat Buhay Youth – ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) Summit” competition held at Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex here.
Vice President Robredo was assisted by ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, Cabinet Secretary John Louie Balagot and Office of the Bangsamoro Youth Affairs (OBYA-ARMM) Executive Director Nizam Pabil.
During the ceremony, Vice President Robredo emphasized the vital role of the youth in nation-building. “Para mas magiging empowering ang gobyerno, binibigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan na makilahok sa pamamahala… and this is the very purpose of why we are having this exercise (summit),” she said.
Twenty-eight youth organizations competed in designing community-based projects and peace-building initiatives that seek to counter violent extremism in Mindanao during the conduct of the four-day summit. The Top 10 winners received cash grant of P25,000 each from the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines.
The top 10 winners are the following: OKIR – The University Arts Club from Lanao del Sur; Upi Youth Peer Educators Association from Maguindanao; Super Lumba from Lanao del Sur; Aqilah from Lanao del Sur; Tausug League for Social Transformation from Sulu; Butig Youth Movement for Peace from Lanao del Sur; Weavers of Peace from Maguindanao; Tumpukan Bangsa Sama Inc. – Simunul Chapter from Tawi-Tawi; Council of Sumisip Youth Leaders, Inc. from Basilan; and AFS IPP Maguindanao–Cotabato from Maguindanao.
Six more organizations were awarded the Special Jury Prize including: SMBAG Ko Ranaw from Lanao del Sur; Youth Bangsamoro Movement for Sustainable Peace Initiative and Livelihood Development from Maguindanao; Responsive and Proactive Youth Serving Organization from Sulu; Panabang Youth Service Cooperative from Lanao del Sur; Federation of Muslim Student Association from Basilan; and Parang OSY Development Alliance from Maguindanao.
Shahanee M. Panolong, member of the Butig Youth Movement for Peace, expressed elation on winning the competition. She said her group’s project aims at encouraging out-of-school youths of Butig, Lanao del Sur to be engaged in peace building initiatives, instilling in their minds that they can be instrument of peace. “Napakalaking tulong po nung initiative ni VP Leni Robredo dahil natulungan kaming mga kabataan na mas ma-address ang problema… mas nalalaman namin kung ano ang puno’t dulo ng problem sa community, in Shaa Allah, kung ano ang effort na ginawa namin sa pitching, ay mas gagalingan pa sa implementation,” she said.
Governor Hataman also said he will give an additional P25,000 cash for each of the top 10 winners and proposed projects of non-winners will also be funded by the regional government. He expressed his admiration to the youth groups’ excellence in working on their community-based project proposals. “Lahat ng proyekto ninyo ay magaganda. Kaunti man kayo, ngunit alam ko na mas madami ang makikinabang sa proyekto ninyo,” he said.
The Angat Buhay Youth Summit was organized through the collaboration of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, United Voices for Peace Network Inc., the ARMM Development Academy and the OBYA. It is a four-day conference of youth organizations with the aim of creating a hub of ideas for community-based projects and peace-building initiatives.
Angat Buhay is the Office of the Vice President’s program that provides broader range of opportunities for the youth to engage in collaborative community development and empower youth organizations to implement community development projects that will address the needs of their communities. (Bureau of Public Information)
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