Ph Army, INYDO to conduct youth summit as preventative effort against extremist infiltration

Sep 28, 2017 ...

To enhance the ability of the youth sector to be catalysts of peace and development, the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO) in partnership with the Philippine Army (PA) will conduct the first Provincial Youth Leadership Summit at the Takuat Training Center, San Nicolas, on September 29 to October 1.

Second Lt. Rey Gaezzel Anfone, civil military operations officer of the PA 81st Infantry (Spartan) Battalion of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, shared that leadership summits have been conducted in the provincial and national levels in the past 10 years already as a youth engagement effort against leftist insurgencies.

"We believe na wala na tayong nahahagip na insurgency," she said of Ilocos Norte, but pointed out that the threat of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army, and the National Democratic Front coalition (CPP-NPA-NDF) is still alive in surrounding areas.

"We cannot discount the fact na baka in the future, kung hindi pa rin matatapos talaga yung armed struggle nila, maaapektuhan ang Ilocos Norte."

INYDO Executive Director Weenter Ventura added, "Makitkitada a ti Ilocos Norte ket napalawlawan iti banbantay. Mabalintayo a ma-target kadagitoy nga extremist, ket ti target ti extremists ngamin ita ket youth." (Nakikita nila na ang Ilocos Norte ay napalibutan ng mga bundok. Pwede tayong ma-target ng mga extremist na 'to, kasi ang target ng extremists ngayon ay ang youth.)

Alfone affirmed this, saying, "ang trend ngayon, yung mga sumasali sa NPA are the youth... kasi nasa kanila yung mga kailangan nila na maging miyembro ng samahan nila."

The summit aims to train the youth sector to develop a stronger sense of discipline and responsibility. It envisions the youth as "peace builders" and aims to instill awareness of their integral role in nation-building.

Over the course of three days, participants will tackle topics ranging from personal development to human rights and patriotism, including interpersonal communication, the use of media for self-expression, anger management, forms of abuse and the restoration process, cultural sensitivity towards indigenous people, environmental consciousness, the criminal justice system, and problems of insurgency.

According to Alfone, the training will transition from personal development to social responsibility, specifically: leadership and personal empowerment module, values formation module, then social responsibility module.

She hopes that "maiiwan natin yung mga bata na may magagamit sila sa society, equipped with the knowledge na hindi sila ma-i-infiltrate ng mga kaliwa.

"This is also one of our ways in bringing the army closer to the people," she added.

Meanwhile Ventura stated, "Participants will be trained to observe society, to be alert, and to be vigilant." He also hopes that the summit would help to address the most pressing problems of Ilocos Norte youth: teenage pregnancy and delinquency or crime involvement, which he identified based on the Philippine Youth Development Plan (PYDP).

He added that tomorrow's leadership summit is also in partnership with the NYC and is thus in line with the objectives of the NYC-prescribed PYDP.

Next month, the PA General Headquarters will conduct the yearly national counterpart to this provincial leadership summit. Selected graduates of this provincial-level training will then join and come together with delegates from all over the country.

by Mizpah Grace Castro



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