126 youths attend 1st ZamBaSulTa Youth Conference ‘16 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 11:33

By ALLEN I. TALIKAN.

At least 126 youngsters from the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi as well as from the city of Zamboanga participated in the recently concluded ZamBaSulTa (Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi) Youth Conference held last February 26-27, 2016 at Grand Astoria Hotel, Zamboanga City.

The two-day conference with its theme “Building a Network of ZamBaSulTa Youth through Unity in Action for Transformation” aimed to establish a network of ZamBaSulTa youth representatives through promoting unity, understanding and opening channels of communication towards one vision-mission for the year 2020. This was organized through the collaborative effort of the Tausug Active Youth Organization Incorporated (TAYO, Inc.), Muslim Student Association-Lupah Sug Incorporated (MSA-LSI), Kusug Batah Sug Incorporated (KBS Inc.), Kabataan Para Ha Kasambuhan Association (KaKA), Smartexters Organization (ST), Rapapeopz Clan (Rapa) and Sulu Photograpeace Club (SPC) with support from the Sulu Provincial Government thru the able leadership of father and son tandem Gov. Abdusakur “Toto” A. Tan II and Vice Gov. Abdusakur M. Tan and IDB Graduates Association (IGA) Team Philippines.   Likewise, the accommodation, transportation and food of the delegates were all shouldered by the organizers.

In a message sent by Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur M. Tan to the said organizers who are actually youth serving organizations based in Sulu, he said that this conference is relevant to their aspirations of effecting good changes not only among the youths but also among the Tausug-at-large — changes that transform them into what they were before, a proud historic people. “I hope the youths should take active roles in efforts leading to the restoration of our pride and honor worthy of the sacrifices of their forebears,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Mr. Timothy Ijiran, National President of IDB Graduates Association (IGA) Team Philippines and TAYO, Inc. Adviser, humbly welcomed the delegates during the opening ceremony and congratulated every individual behind this conference. He also said that after this event, hopefully, in the near future there will be another one which will be held, this time, in the mainland of Mindanao. The particular place, however, is yet to be determined. Mr. Ijiran also thanked Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur Tan for the support not only for the youth but on a larger sphere including the Janaaza Training (Islamic Funeral rite with actual demonstration). It was learned that this well-attended affair circled on various lectures such as Leadership (General Perspective) delivered by Prof. Alih Sakaluran Aiyub; Role of Youth in Society rendered by Sheik Loderson Mahir Gustaham, and Peace and Violence and Meditation discussed by Rosemain T. Abduraji. In addition to the lectures, this event was also highlighted with team building activities which include “Getting to Know You”, “Helium Hoop Challenge” and “Mine Spill”. These activities were purposely conducted to teach the delegates some wisdom like respecting others, the significance of cooperation, teamwork and unity as well as dealing with problems while taking risks in order to achieve the desired goals. For Prof. Aiyub’s lecture, he started it with a discussion on the Servanthood Leadership emphasizing that the reason why we are sent here is to spread Godliness. He also gave importance to the fact that each one of us is a leader of our own right, and that a true leader knows how to deal with problems. “Real leaders see problems as opportunities. They don’t resign; they redesign,” he noted. Connectedly, he also talked about the vital role of religion in every leader. “The teaching of your religion molds your belief system. You should only do what is good, and avoid the evil,” he said. On the other hand, Sheik Gustaham began his lecture by sharing his experiences in life when he was still a youth and the struggles he met along the way which made him become successful. Immediately after his storytelling, he asked the participants to list down all the visible problems they see in their respective community, and together they discussed the substantial solutions of solving them. Preceeded by Sheik Gustaham lecture was Ms. Abduraji’s. She discussed about the meaning of peace and violence, and how to use meditation as a potential way to solve a problem or a conflict. She also made mentioned that it is very important to know first the root of any problem before going to the solution. In relation to these lectures, open forums were also given to the participants so that they could clarify thoughts or ask any questions concerning their welfare as a youth. Finally, this conference was ceremonially closed by a message from the Kusug Tausug President Shernee A. Tan who happened to be the replacement of the supposed Guest Speaker, Vice Governor Tan who was unable to attend due to some inevitable reasons. Ms. Tan’s message started by quoting the words of former American President Hervert Hoover: “Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.” She also acclaimed that what older people do, or in the present context what our generation do now, shall be inherited by the generation after us. “No one can predict or foresee the future for that power belongs to God alone,” she added. Aside from this, the young Tan also encouraged the participants to take responsibility in themselves. “As responsible youths, you are responsible first to yourselves. Equip yourselves with the right mindset, setting good goals, have the resolve and the determination to pursue goals that are of benefit to you and to the rest of multitude. You cannot be responsible enough to change situations that can be changed if you are as helpless and as hopeless as those who failed before you. To harbor doubt that a small group like yours cannot change a comparatively small province like Sulu, is accepting defeat even before the battle begins. If you stay thoughtful and committed, you can even change the world,” she uttered. Finally the conference ended by the signing of ZamBaSulTa Vision-Mission 2020, distribution of certificates of participation and by photo opportunities. Below is the formulated ZamBaSulTa Vission-Mission 2020. Vision By the year 2020, ZamBaSulTa youths are empowered in terms of promoting peace and unity, enhanced skills and potentials, participated in governance and assisted in the delivery of basic services such as education, environmental protection, religious services, and cultural preservation and became productive members of our society. Also, extended their network and are more committed and efficient in fostering unity. Mission By the year 2020, ZamBaSulTa youth are globally competitive in advocating peace, unity and development. Also, established a sustainable connection, preserved rich and colorful culture that transcends through generation. ZamBaSulTa youth are also engaged in governance, became catalysts of change locally, nationally and internationally.   — Allen I. Talikan, Vice President of TAYO, Inc.