"As tomorrow’s leaders, the youth of today must be given adequate guidance and support so that their potential can be strengthened, focused, and realized as a key contributor in the national effort to build resilience." This was the message of Civil Defense Administrator Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad to the participants of “Youth as Agents of Change: A Call to Action” webinar held on September 23.

The webinar emphasized the significant role of the Filipino youth in society. Resource speakers were Limitless Lab Chief Visionary Officer Joie Cruz, Dipolog City Sangguniang Kabataan President Mandel Zoe Lugasan, Association of Young Environmental Journalists Director Val Amiel Vestil, and National Youth Commissioner Paul Anthony Pangilinan.

Ms. Cruz shared her personal stories as a youth leader, and daughter of a fallen medical front liner. She encouraged the youth that amid the "disorienting dilemma" brought by the pandemic it "can be a starting point for transformative learning."

"It's important to know how you can transform a very bad experience into a productive or more optimistic output or experience." she said.

To discuss the actions of youth and potentials in advancing the fight against the pandemic, SK President Lugasan shared related programs and activities of the youth for the communities in Dipolog City.

Meanwhile, Mr. Vestil discussed initiatives such as Kapit-Mindanao, a nationwide digital fund raising campaign supporting the COVID-19 response activities of 21 youth organizations in Mindanao. He noted the importance of having a solid preparation for a project by talking, developing, implementing, and amplifying the ideas. He also mentioned that the youth should exhibit soft skills in collaboration by giving project ownership to volunteers and partners and practice innovation and creativity.

Commissioner Pangilinan in his talk imparted insights on the role of youth as agents of change where he shared various youth initiatives.

He presented the NYC’s initiatives on climate action and disaster risk reduction and management including ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on the Adoption of the ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day, training module on DRRM-CCAM for Sangguniang Kabataan and community-based youth organizations, as well as inclusion of the youth in the DRRM council in all levels.

Commissioner Pangilinan noted the importance of youth involvement on issues that affect them. He also called on the youth to empower communities and "leave a mark."

"We are here to break the status quo, now more than ever, the youth are here to show the world that we can be agents of change. We are here to empower communities, we are here to make a difference," he added. This was the fifth webinar launched by the OCD since June this year.