by MEGS S. LUNN
The 28 high school students are lucky to be chosen to represent in the boys and girls week event of RC Roxas, the celebration of the New Generation Month this Sept. They faced a panel of adjudicators on Sept. 26 at the Provincial Health Office, Roxas City, Capiz.
There were 64 students applicants who took the exams on Sept. 25 at the Rotary Center. They came from both public and private high schools in Roxas City. Some 28 students successfully made it to the top. They are chosen to be Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Councilors for the week.
During the interview, one general guide question was given them: "If you are the new elected Philippine president, what are the first three priority projects you will carry out in your first 100 days?" They were very conversational and outspoken. They prioritized Education, Alleviation of Poverty and Health.
Education they said is key to progress. According to Ivy Lopez, a 16 year-old high school student, "if one gets a good education, he/she will surely succeed. However, most of the students at present are not serious in taking good education. "When asked why, she replied, "most perennial problems that the youths are facing right now are: teenage pregnancy, smoking/addiction, truancy and joining fraternities."
These concerns raised were likewise affirmed by the rest of them. A student, Stefanie explained, "some of the reasons why most students do not have interest in their studies are the low quality of teacher’s strategy in teaching lessons. Students, instead cut classes and play computers." Other classmates would say, "the teachers are boring, I hate the subjects".
As to their stand in the additional two years of school, they almost disagreed. Jasef said, "perhaps the government would instead think to add more classrooms and hire quality teachers so that students will become globally competitive." According to them, the additional two years will not answer the deteriorating standard of education, but rather, will give more problems to the parents especially that 80 percent of Filipinos fall below the poverty line."
On teenage pregnancy, John Rey said, "parents play a big role in discussing sex education in the dinner table. Among the 28 students, about half of them agreed to include sex education in the curriculum. They favor getting awareness thru sex education in school. As to how the module will be presented, is a matter to debate. They are concern of the few cases of teenage pregnancy in their school, even if they are not very much aware of the human reproductive system.
Truancy outside of the school community is rampant. Mariah Yza agrees to this. She suggested that computer shop owners should be disciplined by the city government and implement the law rigidly on truancy. Kirbie added, "to prevent these students from cutting classes and resort to truancy, teaching strategy should be improved. Teachers should be trained, learn new strategy in presenting lessons, make it interesting to them, provide teachers good salary, construct additional school rooms and facilities for more learning opportunities".
As to abolish Sangguniang Kabataan, Toni Maree, Ann Karlyn, Pearl Ann and Joem disagreed. They believed, they represent the voice of the youth and their Barangay. They do good deeds like providing sports fest for out of school youth and the like. However, Ferdinand, Jason Jay, Christina and Venice agree to abolish SK as they are being lured to corruption by some politicians like vote buying. They end up with corrupted mind and become liability of the community.
These students indeed identified perennial problems of the youth in school and in the community. They exposed negative cases happening before their eyes like addiction to smoking, drinking, peer pressure, population control, and selective justice especially to the poor.
As to the alleviation of poverty, they suggest feeding program, housing to the poor, and jobs to the jobless. As to health, they all agreed to solve the alarming Dengue.
They gave a grade for P-Noy six (6) in a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the highest. They all saw the hostage crisis on television. They wished P-Noy could have done something to stop the crisis and avoid the loss of lives. Most of them idolized P-Noy. They hope Aquino could bring positive changes to the country and become the role model of the youth.
A couple of them gave solutions to improve tourism by bringing in investors in the country. Jan Erol affirmed, "where there is development, there is also negative effect of tourism. However, it is normal that there is the pros and cons to tourism, though there are more on the pro side like employment generation.
These 28 students are facing the challenges from Sept. 27 to October 1 at the Roxas City office. Led by Pres. Jerry Lames as the committee chairman, the panelists are PE Mariz Gepilano, PP Megs Lunn, Rtn. Raoul Bermejo, Rtn. Marie Antonette Borres, Rtn. Rexam and Rtn. Toto Arce. /MP