TOBSPA virtually gathers youth, adopts resolutions in first-ever online parliament
Amidst the pandemic, 30 brilliant young minds gathered and discussed on May 9-11, 2020, and adopted resolutions around media literacy, financial literacy, and mental health, which will all be forwarded to both chambers of Philippine Congress.
Held through Zoom video conferencing platform and streamed publicly through social media, the first ever TOBSPA Online Youth Parliament (OYP) was an initiative of the Ten Outstanding Boy Scouts of the Philippines Association (TOBSPA) aimed at providing an avenue for the youth to express and to be heard, at raising awareness on policy-making, and at promotion of national understanding and intercultural dialogue.
Harnessing all knowledge learned during the activity, the gender-inclusive Parliament, most of whom are youth leaders of top universities chosen from among 189 participants, produced three formal resolutions as follows:
- A Resolution Condemning the Vehement Proliferation of Disinformation in the Country, Therefore, Urging the 18th Congress of the Philippines to Establish a Media Literacy Inter-Agency Task Force In-Charged to Manage Issues and Concerns Thereof
- A Resolution Urging the 18th Congress of the Philippines to Discuss Bills that are Addressing Financial Literacy Education that Consider the Following Recommended Provisions
- A Resolution Urging the 18th Congress to Respond to the Right for Protection and Basic Needs of Medical and Emergency Frontliners that Affects Their Mental Well-Being During State of Calamities and Presence of Notifiable Health Crisis
The above were a result of active exchange of diverse ideas through the conduct of five sessions, each featuring a topic discussion led by an input speaker, a TOBSPA member, followed by a moderated discussion among participants.
"If we scatter everyone into different fields, it would be difficult. The important thing, especially for the youth, is to focus on which part of the society needs to be addressed and how," said Scott Davies S. Lanete, TOBS 1997, who emphasized the importance of being realistic and defining an approach in addressing an issue on his discussion about Policy-making, Legislation, and Youth Empowerment.
Chinno B. Marquez, TOBS 1999, on his discussion about The Rise of Social Media and the Democratization and Politics of Word-of-Mouth stressed on how the youth can use modern media to access viable information and use it responsibly.
Financial literacy trailed the discussions, where Christian G. Lauron, TOBS 1992, reminded that financial literacy is 'progress, a journey', as one develops a personal financial management system.
Relevant to the current times, Jethro Dominic A. Maddumba, TOBS 2005, discussed on Mental Health in the time of COVID-19."It's okay not to feel okay. This is a trigger for us, and this tells us something. Feelings of sadness and anxieties are normal, especially during an abrupt social change like this enhanced community quarantine."
Antonio Gabriel M. La Viña, JSD, highlighted the importance of climate and environmental justice as no country is spared of the drastic effects of climate change.
The initiative, of which participants were a mixture of scouts and non-scouts from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, was recognized by the World Organization of the Scout Movement Asia-Pacific Support Centre.
TOBSPA President Jayvy R. Gamboa said that the Association has always hoped for a better Philippines, for empowered Filipino youth prepared for governance, and for a more inclusive country that values social justice. Elected leader of the Parliament Paul Roset also noted that such initiatives to allow the Filipino youth to express their views and opinions on matters that directly affect them should effectively be cascaded down the line, and that the selected youth parliamentarians act as a beacon of hope for other young people.
The TOBSPA Online Youth Parliament was convened by John Stephen M. Cornwill, TOBS 2017.
TOBSPA, the official organization of national winners of the annual Search for the Ten Outstanding Boy Scouts of the Philippines, continues its commitment to youth participation in decision-making, leadership, and quality education through the OYP. The Association is home to 309 TOBS awardees and is celebrating its 25th year.
This article was written by Richard D. Olano, TOBS 2016 and Henri Lomeus N. Ching, TOBS 2008. For more information, you may reach the Ten Outstanding Boy Scouts of the Philippines Association (TOBSPA) at firstname.lastname@example.org.