ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 11 (PIA) - - The Philippines plays chair and host to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summits and activities as it marks its 50th Anniversary this year with the theme, “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.”
Along this line, the Philippine Information Agency has embarked on awareness and information dissemination campaign in key cities and towns with the support of stakeholders including national government agencies.
Spearheaded by PIA in partnership with the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), at least 200 youth leaders from 10 colleges and universities here joined the ASEAN Youth Forum held at Edmund Campion Hall, Ateneo de Zamboanga University on Wednesday, July 5.
The forum, aimed to bring significant ASEAN information to the youth from different colleges and universities, is expected to benefit the youth in terms of government, non-government programs and services such as but not limited to scholarships, educational tours, career and business opportunities, and cultural interaction, among others.
"Welcome to this very important and significant event, the first in Zamboanga City. This is the first I've known that youth from various schools gathered for something like this. This exercise is a war against apathy, against indifference," said Dr. Robert Panaguiton, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, ADZU who welcomed the participants.
Each participating school chose 2 ASEAN youth ambassadors who wore traditional attire of their assigned countries, representing the 10 ASEAN member states, namely: Brent College- Myanmar; Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School (ICAS) - Thailand; Pilar College - Cambodia; Southern City Colleges - Singapore; STI College - Indonesia; Universidad de Zamboanga (UZ) – Laos PDR; Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) - Vietnam; Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College - Malaysia; Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology - Brunei Darussalam; and Ateneo de Zamboanga University – Philippines.
Southern City Colleges bagged the “Best Dressed Ambassadors” representing Singapore, which highlighted the ASEAN forum.
Roderic Trio, Mark Saavedra and Joseph Lou Sta. Teresa, alumni of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP) shared their challenging learning experiences and told participants to take courage in applying for a slot considering that the number of applicants for Zamboanga City has been dwindling in the past year.
Joseph Lou Sta. Teresa encouraged participants to apply for the SSEAYP. “Don’t be intimidated with the requirements. Once you accomplish it, madali na yan. The process is fun. During the interview, just be yourself. Be honest with all your answers,” he advised.
”Representing the country is both an honor and a responsibility. We have to be inspired to make the Philippines at par with its ASEAN neighbors,” said Mark Saavedra.
“Join us in the community of knowing further what ASEAN is all about, and you’re going to appreciate your being a Filipino,” Roderic Trio urged the youth, as he challenged them to take the opportunities available in the ASEAN while they are still eligible to do so.
Raymond Domingo of the National Youth Commission and Dr. Rody Garcia of CHED shared the programs, projects and other ASEAN benefits for the students/youth in terms of education, as the panelists all joined in the interactive talk show.
“We are gathered here because we want to fight apathy, indifference, yung pagiging walang pakialam. let us start learning from each other, empowering ourselves, knowing things outside from us so that we will become more engaged citizens of the Philippines,” Dr. Panaguiton persuaded. (ALT-PIA9/Zamboanga Sibugay)