By Herman M. Lagon
THE QUESTION posed in the university extemporaneous speaking contest at ISUFST this Tuesday in the Dingle campus was timely and thought-provoking: “Is the youth still the hope of the motherland?” My conditional answer to this question is, “Not anymore if…”
This compels us to critically examine the Filipino youth’s role in shaping our nation’s future. In contemplating this, it becomes evident that this potent sector of our society must think, do, profess, advocate, and commit to a set of principles to continue being the hope of the motherland.
Not anymore if they prioritize personal gain over collective progress. The youth must embrace a mindset of selflessness and service to the community. They must recognize that their actions can shape the nation’s destiny.
Not anymore if they turn a blind eye to social issues. The youth needs to be socially aware and actively engaged in addressing societal problems. They must not be passive observers but rather catalysts for change.
Not anymore if they settle for mediocrity. The youth must strive for excellence in education, innovation, and creativity to propel the country forward. They should strive to be their best versions, constantly seeking growth and improvement.
Not anymore if they perpetuate division and discrimination. Embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity are critical for national unity and progress. The youth must champion equality and understanding in all aspects of society.
Not anymore if they shy away from critical thinking and meaningful discourse. It is imperative for the youth to actively participate in shaping the future through informed discussions and debates. They must be unafraid to voice their opinions and engage in constructive dialogue.
Not anymore if they succumb to apathy and hopelessness. The Filipino youth must be resilient, optimistic, and proactive in the face of adversity. They should harness their passion and determination to overcome challenges and drive positive change.
Not anymore if they neglect the welfare of marginalized sectors. The youth must continue to stand up for the rights of the oppressed and work towards creating a more equitable society. They must be advocates for those whose voices are often unheard.
Only if the Filipino youth embrace these responsibilities with practical action, insightful understanding, and depth of commitment can they truly become the hope of the motherland.
Anchored on the lessons from the past, it is time for the youth to be more socially responsive, to be radical lovers of transformative society, to be “liwanags sa dilim,” to challenge the status quo, and to be defenders of and activists for social justice. By doing so, they can pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive, and prosperous future for our beloved nation. It is time for the youth to rise and do greater things for the greater good. The future of our country rests in their hands.
Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.