“I hope you develop in you the passion and commitment to work with everyone. I am sure you will be the most effective leaders in your respective communities,” said Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Besana, the spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, to forty-two young leaders in Sulu, who graduated from the military’s leadership summit on Hadji Panglima Tahil Island from December 18 to 20.
The troops of the 35th Infantry Battalion spearheaded the three-day leadership summit participated in by forty-two officials of the Sangguniang Kabataan hailing from the barangays of Jolo and Hadji Panglima Tahil in Sulu, following the success in seven leadership summits previously launched by the unit.
Anchored on the theme, “I am Youth, I am for Peace,” the leadership summit aims to develop the character and leadership potential of the participants in order to enhance their awareness, transform them into peace builders and catalysts for development, and develop their critical understanding of their role in nation-building.
“The training will only provide you with some tools; no training will make you proficient overtime and overnight. It needs to be practiced. It needs to be performed. It needs to be done over and over again,” added Lieutenant Colonel Besana, who graced the closing ceremony of the YLS Batch 8-2018.
Participants engaged in a series of interactive discussions on youth leadership, counter-terrorism, environmental protection, drug abuse, and human rights during the leadership summit.
On December 21, the participants planted mangrove seeds and joined the cleanup drive at Rahmat Beach Resort in Bangas, Hadji Panglma Tahil, Sulu.
“Ang pagsali sa Youth Leadership Summit ay hindi nakakaaksaya ng oras, bagkus ikaw ay nabibigyan ng pagkakataong matuto upang maihubog ang iyong kapabilidad bilang isang batang lider (Joining the Youth Leadership Summit is not a waste of time, instead it will provide you with opportunities to enhance your capabilities as a young leader,” said Madiyah Alibasa, 18, a student of the Mindanao State University-Sulu and graduate of the YLS Batch 8.
Alibasa said she plans to organize recreational activities in her barangay as “this will enhance the capability of the youth to be competitive leaders, mold their discipline, and motivate them to work as one.”
“We intend to conduct more programs engaging young leaders, especially in conflict-affected areas, because we want to empower, educate, and guide our next generation of leaders and professionals. This is one way of working for the elimination of decades-long armed struggles in Mindanao that evidently need long-term and feasible solutions,” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, the commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
The leadership summit was held at Rahmat Beach in Bangas, Hadji Panglima Tahil.