Youth participation key to national development

As the number of young people in the Philippines increase, the need to tap the youth’s active participation in the nation’s growth and development has never been more urgent.

In a special forum organized on June 4, the Ayala Foundation invited Leon Flores III, chair and chief executive officer of the National Youth Commission (NYC), to speak about the country’s youth—their beliefs, dreams, aspirations, and others. The special forum was organized in keeping with the foundation’s commitment to Youth Leadership, one of its program pillars.

One of the highlights of Flores’s talk was the global challenges faced by the Filipino youth and other trends among the youth. NYC defines the youth in the Philippines as anybody between 15 to 30 years old, which according to a 2010 census makes up 27.59 million of the population.

The NYC noted that youth unemployment decreased from 18.6 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2012. Still, the need for the youth to find gainful employment or other sources of income remains an important concern.

Stressing that young people need the knowledge and skills that can be learned from employers so they would become assets to the workforce, Flores said: “We need more companies to employ young people, even if they come without any experience.”

Recent survey data from the NYC showed the growing interest of young people in building their own enterprises, citing that 54.4 percent of the youth have shown entrepreneurial skills but lack the start-up capital for their businesses. At the same time, Flores noted that 57 percent of the youth would like to work abroad because of the perceived higher pay. However, 73.9 percent of young people also acknowledge that working abroad is “not healthy for family stability despite the economic advantage.”

The NYC also noted how the youth has increasingly shown awareness and concern toward the environment, recognizing that climate change has become a global concern and more young people have started to take local actions to address the problem.

“Approximately 34 percent of the youth join projects for clean and safe environment,” noted Flores, adding that about one-third of the youth would volunteer in community service in times of natural emergencies.

In terms of political views, the NYC survey noted that 90 percent of the youth believe that corruption is the major cause of poverty in the Philippines. At the same time, 74 percent to 78 percent of the youth believe political dynasties should be made illegal.

In response to the growing needs and concerns of the youth, the NYC developed the Philippine Youth Development Plan, which serves a guiding framework for a unified action among youth and youth-serving groups, agencies, and institutions. As the NYC continues to work with other organizations and institutions, it becomes more evident that “nation-building is a shared responsibility,” said Flores.

Through its Youth Leadership program, the Ayala Foundation and its partners continue to find ways to empower more young people who will contribute positively toward nation-building and national development. Over the years, Ayala Foundation and the Ayala group of companies and its partners have implemented the Ayala Young Leaders Congress and the Leadership Communities program, empowering student leaders to be active citizens in their communities.

Source: Ayala Foundation.

Youth participation key to national development