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‘Himamat Peace Camp’ gathers 140 student leaders in Siquijor

Around 140 youths in the province of Siquijor gathered at the Siquijor Provincial Police Office grounds for the “Himamat Peace Camp” where they expressed their commitment to be trained and be mobilized as advocacy support groups against illegal drugs and terrorism.

The youth participants are student government (SG) officers from the secondary schools in the province who wanted to become active participants to the peacekeeping initiatives of the province.

With the theme, “Kabataan: Bumangon, Gumising at Makiisa sa Paglikha ng Mapayapang Bukas," this is the second time the Siquijor province rolled out the  Himamat Peace Camp.

New connections

For Yhanni Villaflores, SG president of the town of Enrique Villanueva, the peace camp not only gave her a chance to bond with other student leaders in Siquijor but it also honed her leadership skills. “My leadership had been, once again, tested because ang akong mga kauban dili tung mga natural ra gyud nakong kauban sa schools (my co-participants were not my usual companions from school). We made new friendships. We developed a connection with each other in such a short time,” she said.

She also thanked the organizers for providing them with a venue to develop their leadership potential and in the process, gain more confidence.

Another youth leader, Cris Riel Arnejo who also served as one of the camp’s facilitators, said the activity greatly benefited the student leaders. “Naa gyud dakong kaayohan  nga nahatag ang atoang  activity sa atong mga student government council sa probinsya. Nakita nato giunsa  paghimo sa atong mga kabatan-onan ang ilang responsibilidad as a team  ug unsay makaayo para masulbad ang mga mga challenges sa different activities (Our activity has really provided significant benefits to our student government councils in various schools throughout the province. We have seen how our youth carry out their responsibilities as a team and how they solve the challenges in various activities),” said Arnejo.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES. Student government officers undergoing physical exercises and training during the Himamat Peace Camp in Siquijor. (PIA-Siquijor)
Holistic program for leadership development

The Himamat Peace Camp was organized on July 19-21, 2023 by the provincial government of Siquijor in partnership with the Siquijor Police Provincial Office and the Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT).

The camp aimed to serve as a holistic program that would provide an opportunity for leadership development through values formation, coaching, mentoring, and community development.

"The Himamat Peace Camp is an activity that engages the youth to become responsible citizens and leaders of character, and advocates of the government’s peace and development initiatives," said Board Member Bryle Deeiah Tumarong-Quio, chairperson of the Provincial Advisory Group (PAG) and KKDAT adviser during the camp’s opening ceremony.

Quio is also the former Sangguniang Kabataan Provincial Federation President (SKPF).

Brigade Commander Joey A. Escanillas from the 302nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, who served as the guest of honor and speaker, challenged the peace camp participants to unleash the public servants in them as he reminded them of the significance of putting words into action to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the entire nation.

“Among all the people, it is the youth that should be truly concerned with active citizenry and participation to nation-building, for in the future, it is your generation that will face the consequences of what we are doing right now,” Escanillas said.

Part of the Himamat Camp was the conduct of Basic DRRM Training such as Basic Rope Rescue Technique Workshop, Fire Safety Measures, Rescue Transfer, Bucket Relay, Basic Water Relay, and Basic Water Survival. (PIA Siquijor)
Lectures and workshops to foster peace

The peace camp engaged the youth participants in several activities such as seminars and physical exercises that promote camaraderie, rapport, and patriotism that will foster peace and safeguard the lives of the young people in Siquijor.

On the first day, the young leaders participated in a series of workshops and lectures on KKDAT Club Orientation, Mental Health Awareness, First Aid, Leadership and Volunteerism, Illegal Drugs, and Insurgency.

During the campfire activities, each group performed their own shouts and cheers. The atmosphere was made even livelier with the showcase of the students’ talents and creativity, including the singing of worship songs and offering of prayers for peace around the bonfire.

The students also formed the biggest peace sign they could manage to strengthen their sense of unity, peace, love, and pride in their shared voyage.

“We made sure that these activities were part of the three-day camp to strengthen their faith in God and to be assured that their spiritual and emotional wellbeing were being taken care of. As youth leaders, we need to be spiritually and mentally healthy,” Quio said.

The second day included Basic Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Training such as Basic Rope Rescue Technique Workshop, Fire Safety Measures, Rescue Transfer, Bucket Relay, Basic Water Relay, and Basic Water Survival.

With Fiesta sa Barrio as the Solidarity Night’s theme, the participants together with the Department of Education teachers and facilitators showed up dressed in Filipiniana-inspired costumes.

The Solidarity Night featured the Filipino traditional and modern dances performed by the participants per group, and an on-the-spot search for Binibining Baryo 2023, Ginoo ng Baryo 2023, and Bituin ng Baryo 2023 for the LGBTQ+.

They were chosen based on how they portrayed the Binibini, Ginoo, and Bituin ng Baryo as well as on how they carried their Filipiniana or Barong.

The third day was highlighted by the conduct of the “Amazing Race” followed by the Holy Mass celebration officiated by Msg. Ramon Duran.

In the afternoon, the Closing Ceremony was attended by Governor Jake Vincent Villa.

The Provincial Government of Siquijor through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) also gave 5 kilos of commercial rice to all participants, along with 28 DepEd teachers and KKDAT Youth Facilitators during the closing program.

Partner agencies were also given Certificates of Commendation in recognition of their hard work and efforts in making the three-days camp successful and more meaningful. (RAC/PIA7 Siquijor with reports from BM Brylle Tumarong)

About the Author

Rizalie Calibo


Region 7

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