UN youth envoy commends Beng for leading by example PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 10:39

by Vic Larato

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, could not help but admire Mayor Beng Climaco and commended her even for leading the city back to recovery amid all the challenges that normally come with the process and that includes “criticisms from different directions”.

“I thank you very much Madam Mayor for your leadership, your inclusive leadership… for leading by example and for bringing together the people of this city behind the vision of rebuilding a better Zamboanga,” Alhendawi said after Mayor Climaco showed him video presentations about the 2013 siege, the destructions, the humanitarian crisis and updates on the recovery projects.

The UN youth envoy said the city’s coming back to chart requires a lot of hard work but the return and the reward will be amazing as well.

“One thing we learned about what makes a city successful in making a comeback like Zamboanga’s is to be inclusive. This is the spirit I sense (here). So, I commend you for that,” Alhendawi told Climaco and he added that the UN remains committed and a proud partner for the people of Zamboanga.

Alhendawi, a 31-year-old Jordanian, however, strongly emphasized about the need for people to come together in a different mindset.

“Sometimes you come at the point of (making) history where you have to step up to the challenge of inviting people to not only demand services but also to be part of the solutions by offering their services,” the youth envoy said as he challenged the people of Zamboanga to volunteer, to offer and to be part of the recovery process.

According to him, in a post-conflict situation there are too many to cater for, and if people just wait for their government, of the city authorities and of the UN “that might take us ages and the fastest way to get us to recovery is to train people to be service providers themselves not only as consumers or demanding services”.

He stressed that people should not feel the assumption that services are coming to them “because it will take much longer time if they would only be just sitting to wait for other people to serve them.”

That, he explained, is a negative kind of narrative. “It’s something I have been fighting myself; the fight against the negative narrative of our people.”

Alhendawi urged the Zamboangueños to “be part of the recovery”. “Don’t wait for change to come. You should be part of it. People should feel the sense of urgency and the responsibility to come aboard this amazing comeback of Zamboanga.”— Vic Larato