Asia West Pacific

Responsible Citizenship is a Virtue, Student Leaders Assert

8:00-10:00 PM, 26 July 2020 Prayer and Lamentation

By: Kins Aparece

A group of student leaders from different cities and provinces in the Visayas Region of the Philippines organized a prayer and lamentation on the eve of the 5th State of the Nation Address of the Philippine President. For two hours, the participants were led to pray and meditate. Some of the speakers shared experiences and views in the light of testimonies. The organizers and leaders met on Zoom, but it was broadcasted live via a Facebook page.

The student leaders were mostly affiliated with the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP). This student movement integrates most of the tools for peace in the way they do their work. They consider participation in political life a moral obligation.

Here are some of the realizations of the student leaders after the prayer and lamentation online protest:

I realized that we need to speak out against injustices. We need to be politically active. We need to experience empowerment because this is our country. (JVTA)

In the past, I didn’t want to engage in politics because I viewed it as dirty and unfair. But now, I realized that I can personally do something about it for my community. (QA)

Most of the young people I know focus on self-happiness. But tonight, I realized that there are also young people who share thoughts and perspectives like mine. If we face this head on, we can actually do it. We just have to notice our inner strength and capabilities. (JB)

The youth are not blind nor incapacitated… Our problem is that we are at an age that is vulnerable to coercion. We are afraid to be hurt. We need to stay strong and firm. We need to stand for what is real and true. (EB)

In this pandemic, let us not forget the things we value the most. What do I value now? What are the things that I cannot let go of? (JDG)

As an adviser, I am grateful and inspired to see young people speaking up and aware of what is going on. It is a great show of youth power. (AB)

We need to go back to our roots, to our Christian teachings so we can look closely into our purpose and values… Jesus taught us to speak against injustice and oppression. Society is a shared responsibility. (EP)

Every time I open social media, there is a deluge of social issues. It is good to notice that there are also non-SCAns who are active on social issues. The concern is coming from everywhere… This is love! We do things because of love. We don’t freeze or get paralyzed, or stay silent and not do anything, if someone you love is persecuted. (N)