TUBOD, Lanao del Norte: More than 80 youth leaders from Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte and Iligan City are optimistic that lasting peace can be attained if there is an avenue for discussions that focus on the importance of patriotism in countering radical and extremist influences.
Muslim and non-Muslim youth leaders who attended the 3rd Regional Youth Leadership Summit with the theme “Youth of Today, Our Partner for a Positive Activism” held at Mindanao Civic Center, Sagadan, Tubod town, share this perception.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spearheaded the activity in collaboration with the provincial
government of Lanao del Norte.
Former spokesman of the Joint Task Force Marawi Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera of the 1st Infantry Tabak Division, Capt. Clint Antipala and Capt. Erickson Balanga shared their thoughts on how terrorists ruined the perception of the young people in Marawi leading them to join the Islamic State-inspired Maute group by using hype and brainwashing them to fight against authorities.
“The youth sector needs to do something now not tomorrow. Your role is very crucial that is why our theme is geared towards generating quick action. The youth sector is full of idealism and ambition and we have to divert that into a better perspective, for a better society. And, we intend to push that kind of values in order for you to become relevant in your community and society.” Herrera said.
Soldiers who are members of the National Youth Commission or NYC also joined the summit.
Meanwhile, Gov. Imelda Dimaporo assured the AFP of support to youth-related activities. She mentioned a group of young leaders with a strong advocacy against drugs and extremism – the Youth for Development or Y4D.
“We acknowledged the capability of the youth of today that could help much in our strong stand not to be penetrated by those sympathizers of Maute-IS in Marawi or from other areas,” Dimaporo said.
Included in the discussion of the youth leaders were topics on environmental awareness protection, urban landscape gardening, disaster preparedness, cultural sensitivity, the role of the youth in peace building, criminality and prevention of drug addiction.