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JR Lopez Gonzales 11:40 PM 0

It has always been a pleasure for me to speak to a large audience; much more  to speak to my fellow youth.  When I received a message of invitation from Karen Shiela Flores to speak at the Kauswagan Youth Camp, being an advocate of peace in the Southern Philippines, I counted myself in for the event.





The Kauswagan's First Youth Camp held last April 13 to 15 was a first in the Lanao del Norte province. It was hosted by the Kauswagan Youth For Change in cooperation with Local Government of Kauswagan led by Mayor Rommel C. Arnado, the Rotary Club of Downsouth Iligan, and Alternative Learning System of Kauswagan District.


Facilitators and volunteers of the event strike their poses.

Upholding its theme, "Today's Learner, Tomorrow's Leader", Kauswagan's 1st Youth Camp aimed "to inculcate the values of patriotism, nationalism, and community service by infusing them with faith in the Creator, belief in the sanctity of life, and dignity of the human person". The KYC "encourages the youth to join in character-building and development activites for civic efficiency". Physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being of youth were also promoted in the said event.

Mr. Josiah Mangangot gives his lecture.


Me, posing with some of the delegates to the 1st Kauswagan Youth Camp

A hundred-plus delegates came from various barangays of the town and settled at the rooms of Kauswagan Elementary School for the duration of the event. I was also surprised to see some of my former students at Saint Michael's College of Iligan and MSU-IIT who are actually from that town. They too, did not fail to participate in the said program.


Me, with some of my former students.
The Kauswagan youth leaders listened and interacted with workshops that infuse them with virtues and positive values. Other speakers include Ricah Capangpangan, Julius Gasco, Ardith Castro, MSU-IIT alumnus Josiah Mangangot, MSU-IIT Political Science instructor, Princess Mae Chua, and me.




My participation was on the last day of the camp where I gave a lecture entitled, "Peace and Development: Where Does The Youth Stand?". I certainly enjoyed sharing to them the connection of a peaceful society vis-a-vis development. I shared to them the steps on how to promote peace in various fora. I showed some multimedia which exemplified the endless media in re-echoing the message of peace especially in the cyberspace.



I am sure that the participants had fun for the whole camp as much as I did. This move of equipping the new generation with positive leadership traits is a practice that should be followed by other LGUs. I salute the people of Kauswagan for this bold initiative.


Although at this moment, one cannot ascertain when we are going to have genuine peace and development in Mindanao, true change has to start from within the minds of each Filipino. It would surely take a new generation of both Christian and Muslim leaders, NGOs, and intellectuals who will be the catalysts for peace in Mindanao. 

Shouts to Diverse Hue of Tupi, South Cotabato for my customized bagtag which
served as tokens to those who answered my questions during the lecture.

For more info about the Kauswagan Youth for Change, check them out at Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003765268570

Check out Tupi, South Cotabato's Diverse Hue Designs and Layouts at their Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/diversehue.


All photos are courtesy of the Kauswagan Youth for Change.

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