Youth are integral to nation building, rights promotion

By KIMBERLIE NGABIT QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

FIGHT INJUSTICE. Veteran activist Joana Cariño and former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno rally the youth to take on a bigger role in the fight for justice, peace and genuine social change during the Forum on People’s Issues under Duterte at the CAP Building, Baguio City on December 10. (Photo by Sherwin De Vera)

BAGUIO CITY — Joanna Carino, an Ibaloi elder and martial law survivor, and former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno both stressed to their audience that the youth are indispensable to effecting genuine social change.

Sereno and Carino both speakers in the forum organized to commemorate International Human Rights Day here in the City on the afternoon of December 10.

Carino said the youth plays a big role in nation building. “We should recognize that the youth is indispensable in the struggle for genuine social change,” she said.

Carino said that the youth then had been instrumental in the toppling of the Marcos dictatorship. “Most of us were in our late teen to early 20s during the first quarter storm,” she said.

She added that “thousands upon thousands” of young people were among the throng who marched the streets against the Marcos dictatorship. “The vigor and critical thinking of the youth are vital in the movement for social change,” she said.

Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno asked the youth to help their parents and grandparents make the right choices in the 2019 polls.

“Tell your parents, ‘Don’t mess with the elections. Enough of corruption because you are not improving our lives. You are throwing away our lives,’” Sereno said at a Monday forum during the 70th year since the world adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Use your time to encourage people to be ‘woke’,” she said, “instead of raving about the latest K-POP, or your bucket list or the latest travel destination or who has more likes on IG (Instagram).”

Sereno said the young people should make a meme stating: Ma, Pa please think of us. Stop the evil. Stop the corruption. Let us all be honest. “Keep repeating it. Let there be a wave of voices that will call on elders to do what is right. You know, they will come to their senses,’ she added.

By doing so, Sereno said the youth today will be able to fulfill their pledge to make a better future for the next generation.

Christian Dave Ruz, coordinator of Kabataan Partylist Cordillera said that they have so much to learn from the experience of their elders.

“We look up to our elders like CJ Sereno and Joanna who are staunch defenders of human rights as our guiding light in the struggle for justice and peace,” Ruz said.

“We, as youth commit to always follow that path. Our generation’s future relies in our unity, from all ages, from all walks of life, in resisting tyranny and advancing the people’s rights,” Ruz added.

Sereno, highlighted in an interview with the media after her talk that “the reason why Universal Declaration on Human Rights came about is the realization that to protect human dignity and the value of each human being we have to agree as a community of nations on the basic protection of human rights”.

She said that human rights should not be “denigrated, cursed or threatened” and human rights defenders should not be killed.

“Ang human rights defenders ang kasangga ng mahihirap at maliliit sa bawat bayan. The purpose of human rights defense is to protect the weak not the strong,” she added. # nordis.net

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