Play for Peace Philippines Trains Youth on Responsible Voting

“As a Play for Peace partner, we introduce the concept of nation-building with the integration of fun, collaboration, compassion, and inclusion—all values of Play for Peace.” —Richard Delos Reyes, Youth Trainer, PFP Philippines          

In their collective dream to build a progressive community, Richard Delos Reyes and his team of youth leaders in Cebu work to instill leadership in their students, young community leaders, and volunteers. Their club, Alliance of Argawanon Young Leaders (AAYL), conducted a youth forum officially sponsored by Cebu Citizen Involvement and Maturation in People’s Empowerment and Liberation (C-CIMPEL) in May 2018. This event was attended by 14 Aspiring SK Chairmen from nine barangays: Talaga, Bogo, Tulic, Lamacan, Poblacion, Canbanua, Langtad, Bulasa, and Guiwanon.

Before the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or Youth Council election last May 14, 2018, both local organizations saw the need to present the candidates and hear their respective platforms. According to Richard, there is a need to establish a venue for young voters to listen to different platforms and promote a clean, honest, and orderly election. “We also used Facebook live to record their platforms and reminded them of their commitment to proper voting and not vote buying,” Richard said. This is important, as it has been observed that vote buying deceives people into voting for candidates unworthy of their trust.

Moving forward, they all hope to change the way local elections are handled, as many have been marred by dishonesty and manipulated by people who abuse power.  “Before an event, we have noticed that there is no forum to get to know our candidates or find evidence of vote buying,” he said.

Richard believes that Play for Peace activities and materials empower youth. “We are sending a message to the public that Argawanons deserve a public servant who has proven leadership with relevant platforms,” he said. He added that as a Play for Peace partner, they introduce the concept of nation building with the integration of  fun, collaboration, compassion, and inclusivity—all values of Play for Peace.

His Play for Peace club has trained hundreds of teachers, youth leaders, community volunteers, and students since he joined. He is very active in various community and youth programs, using play sessions and cooperative activities to train youth to be leaders and responsible citizens. A true-blooded Argawanon, Richard’s objective is to further the advancement of his community and its youth, whether in group activities or special forums.

For him, youth empowerment allows young people to discover their core gifts and channel this energy into community service. He also wants to engage them to be aware of their real issues. “Gone are the days that the youth will just be the beneficiaries of the youth programs,” Richard remarked.

This investment in young people’s lives could have an enormous impact on the country. In some cases, youth are looked down upon because of age and inexperience. However, the Play for Peace club believes otherwise. Among their community’s youth, someone could be a compassionate, just, strong leader and public servant.

The Filipino youth deserve passionate leaders who place high regard on integrity, character, and competence. The club is working with youth to build these qualities and to combat ostentatious public service and government corruption. “With the support of and in collaboration with local government, public schools, and private organizations, we provide leadership opportunities that can strengthen character and competence for kids as early as high school,” he shared.

When asked to define integrity and leadership, Richard said, “Integrity is who we are despite anyone watching us. The call here is not perfection but to be sensitive to personal growth and self-renewal. Leadership is to be grounded in the personal strength, pain, challenge and mission to address real community issues.”

Character-building is vital to nation-building, and starting the process early is essential for teaching youth about honesty, sincerity in words and actions, and truthful motivations. Play for Peace is helping to engage youth in healthy and safe environments so they can develop these traits.

Integrity is defined as the state of being whole or undivided. Richard is right—integrity is who you truly are when no one is looking. Some youth are in pain because of leaders who should have guided them to live right and in peace with everyone—but instead have given up on them. These youth need to rise up and be the kind of leaders they wish others to be.

And that is precisely what Play for Peace and AAYL is helping them to do.

About the Forum:
Forum organizers were Nheil Stephen Dela Cruz, Cleanttone Mier, Erika Cojetia, Merry Chris Famat, Jessa Joy Geyrozaga, Jocelyn Almirante, Raymond Kintanar Ramirez of Community Drum and Bugle Corp (Cluster), Mr. Fitz Kintanar of Cebu Technological University- Argao Campus acted as the official moderator of the forum.

The event was sponsored by Msgr. Camilo P. Aliah H.P., E.V. and Myrgrid Guitayen Mamites from the Argao Parish. Benefactors were Nikki Geverola, Michael “Makel” Mansueto, Bianca Saniel, Joe Sardido Aperd and Beal Rosales. Richard extends his gratitude to the Municipality of Argao with the leadership of their Local Chief Executive, Dr. Stanley Caminero.