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A 'Estrawng' quest to public service

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter,” the American writer Mark Twain once said.

As cliché as it may sound, but, does this also apply to leadership or to governance?

For incoming Tigbauan, Iloilo Sangguniang Bayan (SB) member Adrian Camposagrado, 23 years old, the perception of a “seasoned politician comes with age” doesn’t really matter.

Adrian is a native of Barangay Baguingin, Tigbauan, Iloilo province and a Communication and Media Studies graduate from the University of the Philippines Visayas, where he was the chairperson of the University’s Student Council for the year 2019 to 2020.

Before his political bid, the young Camposagrado was a youth volunteer

and a community organizer forming groups of young people in his community.

As he mentioned during an interview, this was “to advocate environmental protection and sustainable living,” having seen, with such a young mind, the degradation and crisis that’s happening in the surroundings.

In 2018, he formed "The EstrawngHeroes’ which is a network of young people in Tigbauan town and across the first district of Iloilo province working towards achieving a sustainable single-use plastic-free Iloilo Province. Meanwhile, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Adrian also established the "Tyempo Naton.Movement," a youth organization of more or less 500 members advocating voters’ education and good government province-wide.

With such strong advocacy, Adrian and his team were the ones behind the crafting of Iloilo City’s ordinance prohibi-

ting the use of plastic drinking straws “Walang Plastikan sa Eskwelahan” ordinance in LGU Tigbauan, and the Climate Resilient Iloilo ordinance of the Iloilo province.

Adrian, because of these meritorious deeds, was recognized as one of the Most Outstanding Volunteers in the Visayas by the National Youth Volunteers Coalition in 2019, a national Youth Environmental Icon of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau in 2020, and recipient of the Dingdong Dantes Outstanding Student Leader Award in 2021.

The EstrawngHeroes was recognized as one of the 10 most accomplished youth organizations in the entire Philippines in 2021 because of their COVID-19 response program.

Recently, Adrian and the said organizations were featured during the recent Youth in Governance Fair 2022 held at SM City Iloilo, which was organized by various non-governmental youth organizations and the National Youth Commission Iloilo Area Office and supported by the member agencies of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Youth Development (RIACYD) 6.

On the other hand, the proud yet still down-to-earth Adrian shared that all of these things he learned from the hard way and just like anybody else, experienced doubts, especially with age that was perceived to be "no adult would listen."

But same as a charcoal handling pressure to become the finest diamond, he learned to widen his perspective of knowing and engaging with people around him and turn weaknesses and limitations into strengths.

Adrian, then felt the need that there’s more to be done but now with a wider scope and greater intensity – he took the challenge of running for an elective seat in the municipal government of Tigbauan in the May 2022 National and Local Elections.

“During the pandemic, we faced a lot of struggles and social injustices became clearer. There are policies and situations that are unfair to the people,” he stressed.

As a result of the polls, he received an overwhelming mandate of 19,415 votes,

making him the top councilor of the local government unit of Tigbauan in the province of Iloilo. Also, a history in the making for the town to have the youngest top SB member seating in the august chamber of its legislative body.

Even still in astonishment because of the result, Adrian believes that the mandate he received, despite his age, proved him wrong that “it is not just the young people who listen and believe in the voice of a young person.”

“With the number of votes that I have received, even the elders believe that a young person can do it. That a young person is capable of being a legislator,” he added.

On June 29, to be witnessed by his constituents in Tigbauan, Adrian will take the oath. Then, he will join the other members of the town’s legislative chamber in their inaugural session comes July 6, where he will be presenting his 3-point agenda – environmental protection, good governance, and voters empowerment program.

The young incoming councilor also expressed his willingness to work with co-legislators and introduce innovations inside the institution from the perspective of the young people.

True in its sense even if it’s like a broken record, Adrian and other young leaders like him, realize the aspiration of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, that “the youth is the hope of our motherland.” (AAL/FRG/PIA6)

About the Author

Franz Remar Garion

Region 6

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