The youth and President Aquino

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Time has proven that the youth can affect history, just as much as they are shaped by it. With a proactive mindset, energy, and open-mindedness, they can turn nouns into verbs and aspirations into reality.

President Benigno Aquino III will be delivering his Second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 25, 2011. Students suggest ways to help the president improve the country and contribute to societal change.

“One leader is not enough for the change we seek. Each of us must learn how to lead ourselves for the greater good.  Rather than criticizing the government, we must learn to make our contributions, no matter how small. Study, follow the law, and learn our history––a book by Prof. Ambeth Ocampo is a good start.” –––Jenn Besonia, 19, Polytechnic University of the Philippines

“The youth has done a great deal by voting for the presidential elections last year, but it doesn’t end there. My generation of students, leaders, athletes, and professionals are the ones who should step up. I dream the young Filipino will aspire to pursue a career here and that opportunities abroad will be made available here.

For that to happen, the youth can focus on education. Students should take education seriously. Education should be made accessible to the less fortunate, so the wealth of knowledge isn’t for the elite only.”––Miel Abong, 19, Assumption College

“I think the best education for the youth is through education on social realities. We can help the President by being more educated and aware. For instance, land reform has been one of my most adamant advocacies. If the youth equip themselves with the education on pertinent social issues, the youth can involve themselves into more concrete measures and avenues on airing their grievances. The President can listen to the youth’s views on these issues.”––– Marc Jayson Cayabyab, 20, UP Diliman

“We must voice out our concerns through the proper media. Rambling with our friends usually leads to nothing, but if we use the right channels, our opinions might just reach the President. It’s important for the youth to pursue excellence in school, with the intention of serving the country. A good education breeds character and broadens one’s understanding of people and of the world.

It is also crucial that whatever we learn, we apply here. Times may be difficult, but if all our bright, optimistic young graduates actually made themselves productive in the country, it would certainly help.”—Alyssa Fermin, 20, UP Manila

“We can be more useful in indirect ways to help the President lead the country: helping and supporting community development, innovating to create job opportunities in the provinces (calling entrepreneur students!) and even giving feedback on our government offices. As for becoming a better citizen, I can say for my part, I’m going to aim to be the best doctor I can be.

The youth can take concrete actions, such as following the laws (as simple as traffic rules), and considering career trajectories that can help the country.”—Katrina Gomez, 22, University of Santo Tomas

“The youth can offer a fresh perspective on how to efficiently run the government. After all, it is no less than our (the youth’s) future at stake; whether it is education, population management, or caring for the environment. But more than just airing our concerns and grievances, the youth today are at the forefront––championing our advocacies towards a better future for ourselves and for our nation.”––– Ranel Ram Cheng, 19, UP Diliman

“Our present state of the nation is still ‘developing.’ However, we (the youth) need to work together and strive for self-discipline. American President Harry S. Truman said: ‘If I want to be great, I have to win the victory over myself.’ A little discipline can go a long way. Through hard work, focus, and dedication, we can achieve the ‘impossible.’  We should take responsibility to avoid repeating past mistakes, and really work hard to influence others to support the plans P-Noy (Aquino) has for the country. After all, it was through the youth that organizations like the ‘Boto Mo iPatrol Mo’ projects were effective.”—Zahra Bianca Zaldua, 19, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta

“We can be better young citizens by being an active member of certain organizations, like the Sangguniang Kabataan. We should actively participate in the public affairs and be aware of sociopolitical issues, so we become well-informed individuals. We should speak our young minds about it, discussing current issues amongst ourselves and debate about it.” —Loren Bustos, 16, De La Salle University

“There are a lot of indirect ways to help the President—simple things like being a good citizen. We can reduce the crime rate by being good individuals, making our country a little safer for everyone. Our parents usually tell us, we have to strive hard. Most of us ignore this advice since we are still too young to understand, but striving hard helps a lot in these times. It can boost our country’s popularity by letting other countries know that ‘We can do it!’ Simple things matter to help make our country better.” ––Raphael Baligod, 17, Mapua Institute of Technology/Malayan Colleges

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