Human Rights as generally defined, are the existing rights that guarantee each individual to live with dignity, liberty and security. Last December 10, 2011, the Philippines as one of the countries which adhere to the Universal Human Rights Declaration, did celebrate the International Human Rights Day. The Province of La Union together with the various personalities in the different cities and municipalities of the province did initiate several activities in commemoration of the said significant event. The Philippine Navy specifically the Naval Forces Northern Luzon joined said activities.
|Banner during the Youth Jam 2011|
One of the events conducted was the Youth Jam on Human Rights, a 2-day event facilitated by the Amnesty International Philippines. The participants were composed of student leaders coming from different high schools in the province. Oh well, I know what has been running in your minds rights now. Yes, I was one of the attendees. I was actually the "ate" (older sister) in the event. Reminiscing my highschool days,I myself was also a student leader. I was a member of the highschool publication; part of the brigade staff of the Citizen's Army Training, where I was even awarded as the "Cadette Officer of the Year"; and, part of the Student Government body. So when I was tasked to attend the Youth Jam on Human Rights (which was actually attended by 4th year highschool students coming from all over the municipalities of the Province of La Union) in commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the International Human Rights Day, I automatically said "aye sir."
Come 03 December 2011, I arrived at exactly 8 A.M. for the registration. I was accompanied by my husband during that time since timely, he got the chance to visit me. When I noticed that there were still a lot of people in the list who haven't signed up, my husband and I opted to eat breakfast. After about 30 minutes, I went back and found the area of the Philippine Ports Authority Beach Resort (where the event was held) already filled with youngsters.
|Ate Bless (on the right) together with her co-facilitator.|
Ate Bless (one of the facilitators) acted as the commentator. The typical chronology of programme was followed ( Opening Prayer, National Anthem and La Union Hymn). Meanwhile, Councilor Monching Laudencia gave the welcome remarks, which was followed by an inspirational talk by the Provincial Board Member and a human rights advocate, Honorable Henry Bacurnay.
|My hand-traced house rules.|
This was followed by the setting of House Rules, wherein we, as the participants will set our own house rules to be followed by everyone. we were given a piece of paper and crayon, where we traced our own hand. In each finger, we placed what we believed should be part of the house rules. Personally, I did set the following: (1) Respect each delegate/participant regardless what gender or institution we belong, (2) Listen, if you want to be heard, you must also know how to listen, (3) Share based on facts and experiences, we are all in the vent to learn and share, (4) Do not sleep, and (5) Follow the house rules that were agreed upon.
Afterwhich, we played the "chair relay", where all the member of the group (we grouped ourselves in 6 long horizontal lines) stood up on the chair and arranged ourselves according to Ate Bless instructions, i.e. arrange yourselves according to height. This game was totally fun. We were instructed to arrange ourselves according to age (well, as expected, I was at the last seat.lol), birthdate, etc. Next was the introduction of Mr Melvin Macusi (one of the facilitators) on the first speaker who was Judge Romeo Atillo, a fiscal and also an instructor at the Saint Louis College, College of Law. Judge Atillo started his sharing by a contest. He read an untitled story and whoever will be able to name the title of the said story will win a book. Oh well, I wasn't lucky enough though. He then continued by singing a short rock song (his way of getting rid of his nervousness). Judge Atillo discussed about the Introduction to Human Rights. The next speaker was COL Gerry Dia PNP, wherein he presented the PNP initiatives in implementing Human Rights. This was followed by a lunch break. After about an hour, the facilitators then designated the billeting area of the participants. I opted not to join them since my place was just few meters away from the event. After the designation of billeting areas, the afternoon program was started by a bang with the presentation of Human Rights Situationer by Mr Danilo Banilo, the Division Manager of the PLDD, CHR Region I. Since mid-afternoon is the most unholy hour of the day, the facilitators break the ice by conducting various games, which I really did enjoy. This was then followed by a dance practice of the event's animator music "JAM". I really did love this part, since my first love is dancing. Every participant was able to learn the dance. Supposedly, a flash mob was to be done. On the other hand, due to inclement weather, the facilitators opted to just let us dance at the City Plaza of San Fernando, City La Union. The purpose of getting the attention of the people was nevertheless not defeated since a lot of people and passerby got curious, stopped and watched us dance. It was not my first time to dance in public, but it was my first time to dance in public impromptu!
After the dance, a short program was held where the highlight of the program was the Candle Lighting, commemorating the International Human Rights Day. After the program, we went back to the PPA Beach Resort and had our dinner. The program for the day has not yet ended. The night was filled of fun and surprises. Since it was Christmas, we also had a Christmas Party! A lot of games was conducted and some Media personalities (Maira Wallis) were able to attend the said part of the Youth Jam. The activity for that night was called Fellowship Night and Solidarity Activity. At about 8 P.M, the facilitators called it a night and instructed us to prepare for the next day's activities.
December 4, 2011, our wake-up call was at 6 A.M. I was actually spared since I slept in my own barracks. The day was formally started by a breakfast. After about 30 minutes, Ate Bless initiated an exercise, which was seconded by practicing a new dance entitled "We Can Do a Big Thing," by Black Eyed Peas.
A documentary entitled "Here I am and I have Rights" was presented after the practice. The documentary was really meaty and informational. Since the youth jam was not just about celebrating the Human Rights Day but also about enhancing leadership skills, the Head Facilitator Atty Doris Ramirez, former Chairman of the Amnesty International - Philippines lectured on "Leadership in Good Governance Anchored with Human Rights." This was my favorite part of the whole 2-day activity. I think I will also count Atty Ramirez as one of my idols since she was the youngest Chairman that handled the Amnesty International - Philippines. If I'm not mistaken, she was about 27 or 28 years old when she became the Chairperson of the organization.
A test was also given to the participants, which was a test of leadership. certain questions were given and after about 15 minutes, Ate Bless showed the answer and checking our own paper, we were evaluated of what kind of leader each participant is. The last sharing was given my PBM Bacurnay. We had our lunch at about 1:30 P.M. and at about 2 P.M, picture taking and distribution of certificates was conducted.