THE Philippines is in dire need of a hero. On a weakening state, one could only hope for another Dr. Jose Rizal. Yet, in this time and age, we become deaf and blind to the presence of modern heroes we have asked for decades--the YOUTH.
The young people nowadays are considered so entitled and full of themselves that every time they share their opinions on social media and other platforms they are negatively criticized and hushed when they open a discussion about current issues and events.
The older generation is closing doors of opportunities for the youth to challenge and contribute their ideas to the system. It seems like they do not know that the youth is “woke”--they see social ills and realities behind the seemingly perfect facade projected by our leaders and they also try to find solutions for it. The youth does not voice out opinions only for attention, they speak for a purpose.
The youth speaks to empower one another and collectively take actions for the betterment of the society and its people. In this modern era, Rizal is still in our midst and he is embodied by the 21st century youth who are strong, intelligent, driven and have a sense of nationalism. These are the challengers of the status quo, the voice of the voiceless.
The contributions of the Youth Against Climate Change Organization who use their voice towards alleviating the plight of the environment suffering from the impacts of climate change caused by the people who are apathetic to climate degradation and Shibby De Guzman who challenged the administration, protesting extrajudicial killings and a hero’s burial for the late President Ferdinand Marcos are but a few examples of the resonating voice of the youth who want positive change in society.
As globalization brought a borderless world, access to information is much easier. Thus, the youth maximizes various social media platforms to share their knowledge with the hopes to spread and raise awareness about certain issues and advocacies.
The youth’s fight is for the people and the country. With education as their weapon and armor they are set to face different battles to live out the dream of Jose Rizal. As the hope of the nation’s future, they must be the bearers of rightful action, of positive change and examples of tactful and honest citizens.
Indeed, the youth has a big role in realizing Rizal’s dream for the Philippines, that is, a country freed and purified from the prevailing social cancers and dominated by citizens who can steer the country to greater heights, of citizens who are dignified and citizens whose love for country prevails over and above money and power.
Becoming a catalyst of change requires no age. The youth should be emboldened and courageous to get organized, unravel the truth and protest the ills of society. Thus, it is about time for the Filipinos to acknowledge that Rizal never really died, he still lives in our midst—dwelling within the 21st century heroes, the empowered youth. (By Metzi Capunong, Audrey Reroma)