JARO, Iloilo, March 15, 2015 – A recent media forum about the youth and the media in the light of the CBCP’s Year of the Poor highlighted the close link between young people’s realities now and how these will affect the future.
“If you give the youth a better life now, you will give the Philippines a better tomorrow,” said Jo Jan Peñol, Assistant Secretary of the National Youth Commission (NYC), guest speaker of the 9th Msgr. Jose ‘Pepe’ Buenaflor Memorial Media Forum on March 13 at La Isabelita Hall in the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles.
Pre-marital sex, smoking
In his talk themed “The Youth, the Media and the Year of the Poor”, Peñol cited extensive studies made by the NYC n on the current state of the country’s youth – defined as those belonging to the 15-30 year-old bracket — which comprise 30% of the total population.
The youth commissioner presented statistical studies that revealed the multiple challenges Filipino youth have to face, such as high incidences of poverty, unemployment, early pregnancies, and high-risk lifestyles –such as smoking, pre-marital and same-sex relations.
Peñol said while the government has set up a program – the National Action Plan for Youth Employment and Migration (NAPYEM) – he cited the importance of the cooperation of the Church, the media and the government to effectively help the youth address these challenges.
‘Buy the people’
“Ideally, a country should be of the people, by the people and for the people but, when the right values are not inculcated in people, we end up as a nation “off the people”, “buy the people” and “poor the people”, the Assistant Secretary quipped to illustrate that a society comprised of persons bent only on taking advantage of one another will end up poor no matter how much money is invested.
The government official stressed the importance not only of financial resources but of the transformation of personal values of which the Church and the media have important roles to play.
To explain his point, Peñol shared his own experience on how the Church, through his local parish of Sta. Monica, in Pavia, Iloilo, formed him from grade school up to the present, as an active public servant.
RH Bill opposer
He said the values inculcated in him, especially during the years he dedicated to the youth ministry, is now helping him live by those solid principles in the course of his career in public service.
While Peñol admitted that in government there are strong pressures for one to compromise, he still could say as a fact: “I was the only Commissioner who expressed his objection against the passing of the RH Bill.”
The Msgr. Jose Buenaflor Memorial Media Forum is held annually in Iloilo on the occasion of the death anniversary of Msgr. Jose ‘Pepe’ Buenaflor under the auspices of the Katesismo sa Kahanginan Apostolate (KSKA).
In his address, KSKA President Fr. Elmo Montaño, acknowledged the relevance of Peñol’s insights and personal witnessing.
“He is the example of a person so young in age but rich in experience who can challenge us to a life of commitment to the poor, through the vigor of youth and the influence of the media.”
“Msgr. Pepe” is acknowledged in the Archdiocese of Jaro for his pioneering use of the mass media in the service of evangelization.
On Buenaflor’s pioneering work Montaño said, “Msgr. Pepe’s tri-media apostolate is the priest’s greatest legacy on the Church’s commitment to evangelization in the peripheries of society.”
“Every anniversary of Msgr. Pepe is our way of saying that the Church is in every aspect of human life and is part of every event, of every human experience, and of every concern of the people. It is also a challenge for us to live our commitment to the poor through the vigor of the youth and the influence of the media,” Montaño added. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)