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Over 300 join 1st BFF youth summit in Iligan City

ILIGAN CITY – Some 342 students from different schools in this city participated in the 1st Builders for the Future (BFF) Youth Summit yesterday at the BFF Training Center and Gymnasium, Brgy. Luinab. The summit was hosted by the office of Iligan City lone district representative Cong. Frederick W. Siao.

With the theme “Strengthening Engagement: Youth Empowerment”, the summit aimed to engage the youth of Iligan City and develop a heart for public service, provide them with an avenue for sharing and discussing their opinions on different societal issues and possible solutions, and advance youth empowerment in the face of the contemporary challenges.

The summit included a talk on the challenges faced by millennials, a group discussion on the issues confronting today’s youth, a leadership talk, and a dance presentation.

In his talk on millennials, Mr. Klent Elbert Calunsag, an educator and one of the guest speakers, said that previous generations often have a negative perception of millennials due to certain behaviors that can be attributed to factors such as overparenting, ubiquitous technology, and greater opportunities for instant gratification.

“Because of the technology we experience around us – cellphones, computers, tablets – we are perceived as a distracted generation. We are unable to focus on serious work because we keep on checking our Facebook feed, we keep taking selfies, and play Mobile Legends,” he said.

Nevertheless, he added that millennials also have a positive side. He highlighted that they are a more tolerant generation. “We are more accepting of diversity around us, such as diversity in religion, sexuality, and ethnicity,” said Calunsag.

Other positive qualities of millennials, he said, are their heightened desire for money and capitalism to be used for good, their desire to make an impact on society, their willingness to embrace entrepreneurial paths more readily, their being more connected and tech-savvy, and their being poised to be the most educated generation to date.

In his talk on leadership, University professor Dr. Darwin Manubag explained the four quotients, namely the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), Social Quotient (SQ), and Adversity Quotient (AQ), and how they are important qualities to be possessed by leaders and the youth in general.

He emphasized the value of empathy, an important part of EQ, and its importance especially with the issues confronting the world today. “Due to a lack of EQ, we are prone to discriminating against people of different backgrounds. For example, people have been discriminating against the Chinese lately over the coronavirus issue despite the fact that many of them here don’t have the virus. We do that without thinking about how they would feel. We discriminate against Muslims because they have different beliefs and a different culture. All of that because of a lack of EQ on our part,” said Manubag.

Cong. Siao, for his part, gave an inspirational talk to the participants and encouraged their participation in the activities. “When we attend a summit like this, let’s not hold ourselves back. Whatever the activity, let’s participate. Let’s not restrict ourselves. Let’s not be shy,” he said.

He also emphasized the role of the youth in shaping the future of the city. “I hope that this summit will help in reawakening your love for our city and country. You are the future of our city. If change does not come from you, then nothing will happen. There will be no changes. The leaders we elect would take us in the wrong direction. Let’s ponder upon what will be good for us and our city,” he said.

The BFF youth organization, Siao explained, is “a huge family. Although they respect me as a congressman, we are all friends. You are like my own children.”

The BFF is an organization headed by Cong. Frederick W. Siao and launched in 2009 with the aim of making Iligan City a place of progress, peace, and harmony. It aims to expand its membership to all forty-four (44) barangays of the city. ###

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