A Journey Towards Change

By: Queenie Padilla and Katherine Luces

Since the upsurge of the First Quarter Storm in the 1970s and the EDSA 1986 Revolution, the youth has played a critical role in Philippine social transformation. More than ever, the young people are again needed to help in the development of the country today with the ushering of a new administration.

Our country is currently in a state of reform. New champions for positive change are needed. Despite the perceived indifference and cynicism among the youth today, there exist passionate young leaders who are aware of their responsibility as initiators of change for a better tomorrow. Two of today’s leaders, despite their young age, have chosen to empower their fellow youth through their leadership.

Camille Aquino or Cabe, the incoming President of the University Student Government of De La Salle University-Manila, has had a passion for leadership ever since high school. She has served in the Student Government in her university all throughout her collegiate life. In all her years of service, this 21-year-old never considered her being a leader as a burden, but rather a motivation to excel in her studies. She views her involvement in the student government as a venue to share her knowledge and experiences with other people. “This not only adds color but also purpose to my college existence,” shares Cabe.

Another leader who heeded the call of our generation is Jerome Jose Fernandez. 19-year-old Jerome – or Je – is the newly elected President of the Central Student Government in the University of Sta. Isabel. He also heads most of the school’s programs. Je is very much interested in relating to different students in his university.

Aside from being student leaders, Cabe and Je have something in common – they are graduates of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino (NCA) Leadership Journey Batch 1. The program is a joint effort of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Center for Leadership (NCACL), and was launched in November 2010 in hopes of nurturing the youth leaders of today and reintroducing spirituality as a major foundation for Filipino leadership, as drawn from the insights of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. Cabe and Je were among the deserving student leaders from all over the country who edged out almost a hundred other applicants to be first batch of the NCA Leadership Journey participants.

Cabe was more than eager to join the program. “Cabe and Je are now sharing what they have learned from the NCA Leadership Journey to their respective communities. The program helped Cabe and Je to gain a new perspective not only on leadership, but on life. “It’s all about fulfilling God’s will and purpose for you to change and influence the world for the better,” said Cabe.

The second batch of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey will be on June 3-5, 2011 at the Loyola Retreat House, Angono, Rizal.  30 candidates were selected to undergo a 3-day transformative experience and be living witnesses of leadership.  It is the hope of the Foundation that the young persons will be moved to commit to a life of service and mission through effective and impactful community work.

Using Ninoy and Cory Aquino as role models, the program seeks to reintroduce spirituality as a major foundation for Filipino leadership. Harnessing their innate values systems, the participants take part in a process of self-reflection that will ultimately lead to self-transformation and self-commitment for others and country.

The NCA Leadership Journey is open to all young Filipino citizens residing in the Philippines, 18 – 25 yrs. old, and at least a college sophomore (or the equivalent) at the time of the application period.  He/she should be a current youth leader, has a passion for excellence and public service and has the ability to communicate well.

The NCA Leadership Journey, for its second (June) and third (November) batches, partners with corporate institutions who share the same vision of a nation made progressive by engaged and empowered citizens.  Official partners are the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Center for Leadership (NCACL), the White Knight Hotel Intramuros and Cebu Pacific, The Official Air Carrier of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey 2011.

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