DAVAO CITY: A 16-year-old student of a public school in North Cotabato is one of the 24 Muslim and Lumad young leaders who made it to this year’s Philippine Youth Leadership Program (PYLP).
The program is designed to promote “inter-ethnic dialogue and conflict resolution, as well as American civil society, diversity and traditions of volunteerism” and will be conducted for four weeks at the University of Illinois in the United States of America.
Datumama Santi Tutin is the only representative from North Cotabato. He is a 3rd year student of Pikit National High School and wants to be teacher in the future.
He hopes the program, which centers on environmental care and the role of the youth in combatting the effects of climate change, will help him realize his aspirations for his community.
Participating in the program are 24 young Moro and Lumad youth and community leaders from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), General Santos City, South Cotabato, Zamboanga, and Pagadian. They will be going through an intensive four-week training at the University of Illinois.
Gov. Emmylou Mendoza was elated by the inclusion of Tutin in the program.
“This is proof that we have great minds and potential leaders who are waiting to be discovered,” said Mendoza as she gave Tutin a small amount for his trip, “We are very proud of him and we are anticipating for the great things that he will be able to impart to his community and to his fellow youth. Tutin is certainly an inspiration to others.”
Tutin, who comes from a big family, said he is grateful for the opportunity given to him.
“I am both grateful and excited about this trip,” said Tutin. “I hope that I will be able to learn more from the other participants and program inputs. I really want to enhance my leadership skills.”
Tutin added that he sees the program as a challenge as he hopes to come up with modules and ideas that will benefit the environment and the community he is living in.
Started in 2002, the program is funded by the US Department of State.