Every room bristles with positive energy when it is filled with young leaders who, for some amazing reason, are never overpowered by the word “CAN’T”. I am told that in each of your fields of work, you have changed lives, transformed communities, and built the kind of hope that inspires others to become heroes in their own right.
I am very pleased to meet each one of you. If you so desire, you can remind the nation that there is greatness in the Filipino. You can be the symbols to prove that we don’t have to be bogged down by the “impossibles” and the “difficults”. You can prove to Filipinos that truly, heroes are made every day whether in Metro Manila or in Saranggani or in Bicol, and when they work together, the normal rules of mathematics do not apply.
You’ve all heard this before. One plus one in collaborative change equals so much more than two. Two heroes who want to change the world together could bring about mountains of change.
I was only 29 when I first became Mayor of Naga City. The challenges seemed overpowering in the beginning. But the triumph is sweeter when the road that leads to it is difficult to climb.
The one connection that links all of you is your advocacy, and therefore your desire to educate and inspire others. With the complex movements of thought that occupy your daily lives, I am sure that while you have already achieved much, you can push yourself to go many steps further.
I urge you to take on more challenges. Dive into deeper conversations. We need young thinkers in good governance and good citizenship, and in pushing for transparency and accountability. We need you to be more involved in protecting marginalized groups, because many of them do not know how to do a better “shoutout” for themselves. We need you to speak up so that those in far-flung areas can be heard.
Might I even suggest that you get involved in government? Not a lot of people realize this, but there is a group of very young people right now making a lot of contribution in pushing the wheels of government to move. Once, while I was waiting for my next appointment, I saw Joan, (she tells me where to go and what time because she handles my schedule) talking to a group of young people.
She introduced me to them; they were her classmates in Ateneo de Manila. They were all 23ish, and they prepare the schedules of many of the cabinet secretaries. They know each other well, so bridging common concerns among the different departments seem to be so easy. I told her and her friends. “Pretty soon, before we know it, you will be running the government.”
They could have taken other jobs that paid much better, are less demanding, and will allow them to have time for more dates. But they decided to serve, and that’s something the nation should be grateful for.
This is what I mean by heroes working together. In our discussion, we can then talk about how public-private partnerships can enhance nation building. Again, thank you for coming to see me.
I have one last request. Could you please “like” DILG on Facebook? ☺
Asia21 Philippines Young Leaders’ Forum
DILG, Quezon City
August 26, 2011
Heroes Working Together:
Higher Math in Collaborative Change
Hon. Jesse M. Robredo
Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government