In the face of new normal brought about by the pandemic, the youth have shown resiliency, courage and unity in the midst of a global threat.
Youth involvement and engagement in today’s campaigns is a sigh of relief, eliminating apprehensions of a passive and oblivious generation, and showing signs of a promising future. As technology becomes more available and accessible, the youth have been given a wider platform, various options, and more importantly A VOICE – a voice that is full of fire and passion that will fuel their aspirations.
Their contributions to the society are crucial. Hence, giving them opportunities and more space would empower them and maximize their participation in nation-building. These are young minds facing an unexpected reality.
We all have to partake and invest in each other’s potentials to overcome these challenges. Global Action means engagement of the youth and all sectors aiming to make a huge and beneficial difference in today’s society.
This year’s theme for International Youth Day is “Youth Engagement for Global Action” which “seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.” (United Nations)
For reference, Youth Commission of the BARMM 2020 link file: https://parliament.bangsamoro.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/BA-Act-No.-10-BYC-compressed.pdf
In a simple turn over held at the municipal hall of Lumba Bayabao, Lanao del Sur on July 26, 2020, Mayor Mahar Dagalangit and Vice Mayor London Dagalangit received the healthcare items for distribution to the 38 barangays of the municipality from the Office of MP Mitmug Jr. and ANAK Mindanao.
The donation set, which includes hands-free alcohol dispensers, gallon of alcohol and face masks, is hoped to augment the resources of the BLGUs and its devoted frontliners in their efforts to fight and contain the spread of COVID-19.
In the first episode of Podcast Bangsamoro, Member of the Parliament (MP) Amir Mawallil was joined by MP Rasol Mitmug Jr. to highlight Islamic mental health efforts in the region amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to MP Mitmug, addressing mental health concerns is of equal importance. Mental health concerns should be discussed and given attention despite the stigma on mental illness in the country especially now that we are facing a pandemic. His Office as Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) member, together with the Health Organization for Mindanao (HOM), created an online platform which aims to respond to the common mental health needs of communities. Modules and materials have been improved to focus more on Islamic Mental Health (IMH) and are readily available on the IMH website and facebook page. As part of the IMH initiative, HOM will be training those who want to help in this effort especially those who have background in psychology.
When asked about his motivation for giving attention to mental health, he mentioned local experiences during the Yolanda disaster, Marawi conflict and Mamasapano encounter. The communities directly affected by these crises experienced depressive symptoms and other mental health concerns but less attention was given to that matter. Taking care of mental health can be easily overlooked, hence, efforts concerning mental health in the region should be initiated and supported. He further revealed that his Office is currently reviewing and checking codes, potential policies and laws that will give attention to this issue.
While challenges on mental health is a growing health concern in the region, it is a blessing that the Bangsamoro region is still on its transition period, thus, codes are still being drafted. Particularly, measures on mental health can still be incorporated by the BTA members which can safeguard the general welfare of BARMM constituents should another pandemic and even other forms of disaster affecting mental health arise. The implementation of these programs are without hurdles given the population, diversity of languages, number of practitioners, among others, but MP Mitmug is hopeful since efforts are being supported by concerned agencies and organizations.
It is important to ask this question now because of everything that is going on.
As of the moment, the world is in the midst of a battle against COVID-19 pandemic and this resulted on a major shift in our lives. Most schools approached the few remaining weeks of the school year to accommodate changes brought by the threat of the disease. Notably, graduating students who are eagerly excited for their ceremonial rites to celebrate their accomplishments have to face an unusual goodbye, a rushed goodbye, that is. There are a lot of emotions on that peculiarity indeed. You, all of us, have to deal with the “uncertainty”, “confusion,” and the “new normal.”
As you go through an important transition in your life, I just want to encourage you to place importance to what our community needs because the quality of service we impart to the people is in itself an immeasurable achievement. It is through giving back to the community where we belong where we experience true satisfaction. It is through these dangerous times that we need unifying action and a compassionate heart for everyone specially those who are suffering.
This pandemic taught us to find ways, in as much as the situation and measures permit, to continue the learning process. This is what we are trying to navigate and develop, an educational crisis leadership strategy. We are learning more about the importance of good governance and proactive leadership, as well as a well-functioning and responsive social and health care systems.
The Department of Education recently announced that graduation rites are not cancelled but merely postponed due to existing public health measures. The Commission on Higher Education, on the other hand, also expressed that learning institutions may hold an alternative way for such ceremonies or moving it on a later date. With all these pronouncements, we sincerely hope that you can still have your ceremonies in the near future.
In traversing life, there is a need for continuous growth to adapt accordingly. So be prepared. Stay optimistic. The challenge now lies within us as we begin our new reality.
Mabrouk to all the graduates of different academic institutions in the Bangsamoro!
*This article was first published on MP Mitmug’s facebook page on April 23, 2020.