By Mizpah Grace G. Castro
The National Youth Commission (NYC) in partnership with the Ilocos Norte Parliament of Youth Leaders (INPYL) and the Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA) successfully held the Ilocos Norte Youth Parliament from December 20-22 at the Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Resort in Laoag City.
Supported by the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), the three-day activity was aimed at engaging local youth leaders in policy making, such as in coming up with ordinances that are timely and responsive to the current issues and concerns of young people in Ilocos Norte.
A total of 60 young Ilocanos, aged 15 to 28, undergone workshops on parliamentary procedure, including resolution writing as well as how to utilize these procedures to lobby for action from legislative bodies.
Participants, composed mainly of student leaders from different institutions in each zone of the province, were grouped into Committees on Health and Environment; Participation, Social Inclusion, and Equity; and Education, Employment, and Entrepreneurship.
Each committee tackled youth issues and policy gaps before proceeding with a plenary session and drafting bills and ordinances that address the issues raised.
NYC Commissioner-at-Large James Ceasar Ventura, former executive director of the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO), explained that the organizers would not impose topics; rather, “we let them identify the issues by themselves.”
Meanwhile, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation President Rafael Chua-Medina shared that issues discussed include teenage pregnancy, mental illness and suicide, and lack of scholarships for graduate school.
Ventura clarified that one of the main goals of the INYP is “to engage the non-SK group… We want to listen to those who are not in position: ano naman ang kaya n’yong i-pitch in? We want to see them collaborate, and see those proposals get enacted.”
He added, “Our mantra here is, ‘Let us legislate the future that we want.’ Dagiti agtutubo mismo’t mangibaga no ania’t kayatda a masakbayan. (Ang mga kabataan mismo ang magsasabi kung ano ang gusto nilang kinabukasan.)”
On the last day, participants have approved three ordinances that will be endorsed to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) and the provincial chapter of the National Movement of Young Legislators (NMYL).
It is recalled that the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte won the prestigious Galing Pook Award in 2015 for its trailblazing initiatives in youth development. – (Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO)