The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) holds its 39th National Student Leader’s Congress with the theme “Padayon: Upholding Genuine Leadership and Forwarding the Youth and People’s Agenda for Truth and Accountability” at the Living Gospel Renewal Center (LGRC) from December 7 to December 11, 2013.
The NUSP, established in 1957, is a nationwide alliance of more than 600 student councils, governments, and unions that are committed to the advancement of the students’ democratic rights and welfare.It sees the importance of uniting the youth and student sector for the advancement of such rights especially through education. It has been pro-student and pro-leadership for 56 years. Having been consistent in its advocacy to aid policy recommendations, it has been recognized as the nationally and internationally as the premier national student center of the Philippines. Members of the NUSP actively sit in education and youth reforms within the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the House of Representatives, and even the Senate. The NUSP remains to be at forefront of the students’ struggle for their rights and, ultimately, the communal struggle for social justice and change. Position papers and policy recommendations that have been presented by the NUSP are products of its regional and national congresses held once every two years. The NUSP is also a member of the International Union of Students (IUS) and the Asia Pacific Youth and Students Association. The annual congress organized by the NUSP also aims to build unity among student representatives from private and public Philippine Higher Educational Institutions (PHEIs).
These congresses include forum and classroom discussions, leadership and skills trainings, arts and culture workshops, resolution buildings, and community development for student leaders and participants to imbue principled leadership. Aside from these, there will also be a Basic Masses Integration (BMI) – an activity wherein the youth and the students live within a community of the basic masses, composed primarily of peasants, workers, indigenous people, and the marginalized sector of rural and urban centers. All these activities aim to increase the political and social awareness of the participants on the social realities of extreme and chronic poverty, exploitation and repression that has been experienced by a majority of the Filipinos and are spearheaded by experts that have been chosen from the academe, the economic sector, mass media, and the field of education.
In addition, there will be seminars on how to conduct consultations by Professor Mykel Andrada of the University of the Philippines (UP), a Visual Arts workshop by Mr. Honorato Corpin III of OADD, a discourse on the Pork Barrel System and Social Responsibility by Dr. Giovanni Tapang of UP, the Filipino Peasant Situation by Mr Patrick Torres of Farmers Development Center, Inc. (FARDEC), On Students and Youth and the Philippine Economic and Political Situation by Hon. Raymond Palatino from Kabataan Partylist and on the NUSP, itself, by Sheryl Alapad, the National Secretary General of NUSP.
As the Filipino youth play a huge part in the advancement of the country, they are to engage themselves in matters such as the promotion of the rights and welfare, not only of the youth, but of the people. However, according to Artemio Panganiban, first president of NUSP, the youth sector faces bigger problems now: wrenching poverty, declining educational standards, corruption, electoral cheating, human right violations, extralegal disappearances, lack of accountability, weakened democratic institutions, recurring insurgencies and military mutinies. The call to action is even stronger now and being able to identify the problems of the country and a general knowledge of how our country works is just the first step to progress. Ultimately, as cliché as it may sound, we are the hope of our country. We are the ones with the burden of solving its problems and the ones with the burden of creating long term plans and goals that will stir our country into the motion of change. We are the ones with the burden of taking up the cudgels and creating a newer system that is more efficient. The theme, in fact, is a reminder for the youth sector to push changes by Upholding Genuine Leadership and Forwarding the Youth and People’s Agenda for Truth and Accountability.
With this in mind, the congress aims to gather officers, either incumbent or newly –elected, from student councils, governments, federations, and organizations to promote the advancement of the rights and welfare of students and the youth through genuine student leadership, the generation of projects that will extend service to the community and to the country, a nationalist and pro-people perspective in the discourse of nation building,the promotion and protection of the truth and accountability of leaders.
The 39th National Student Leader’s Congress, in cooperation with Kotex Philippines, and Smart Communications, Inc, is also brought to you by British Council, Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (STAND USC), C4RH, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), UP Cebu Student Council, Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College Supreme Student Government, Krispy Kreme Philippines, and Today’s Carolinian.