PAMPANGA – It is not Valentine’s Day yet, but people from different parts of Central Luzon exchanged sweet “I love you’s” and hugs today in support to peace-building advocacy of the youth.
“There are better ways than war. Give love a chance!”
These were the loud chants of about 5,000 youths, riders, parents and students who assembled this morning at Salakot Bayanihan Park, Angeles City for the PEACE+LOVE Gathering.
Ambassadors of regionwide youth organization Kislap Kabataan rallied the crowd to sow peace and build loving relationships to deter recruitment of youth for rebellious atrocities of New People’s Army and end armed conflict.
The ambassadors cheered the public with songs and inspirational talks, inviting them to join Kislap and foster peace-building activities, friendships, workshops and collaborative programs with the government.
“We were inspired to help the youth in bringing out the best of themselves, their ideas, passion. Instead of joining other groups, the youths are given at Kislap Kabataan the chance to show how great they are in building their own lives and helping others at the same time,” John Paul Correa, Kislap Kabataan ambassador, said.
Hands Off Our Children chair Relissa Lucena shared her advocacy of protecting the youth as she shed tears recalling how she spent her first Christmas without her daughter who was recruited by leftist groups.
Lucena said she has not seen her 18-year-old daughter Alicia for six months after the Far Eastern University student was recruited by Anakbayan and was reportedly up in the mountains.
“Gusto ko magwala pero wala akong magawa. Lord, ang sakit sakit ng nangyayari sa pamilya ko. Walang sapat na salita ang makakapagpuno ng sakit na nararamdaman namin, kami ng buong pamilya ni Alicia,” Lucena said in a post.
Lucena appealed to “treacherous groups” Anakbayan, Kabataan party list and League of Filipino Students to return her daughter so she can be taken care of for real.
“Unti-unti kaming pinapatay ng mga grupong ito. Ipanalangin nyo na lamang po ang ating bayan at ang aming mga anak na makabalik nang maayos at ligtas sa aming pamilya,” she said.
In Kislap Kabataan, the youths will be ambassadors in their own provinces where they will lead proactive activities such as peer counseling, mental health advocacy, multimedia workshops, community outreach, skills development and many more programs that build character, families and societies.
Kislap Kabataan thanked the Philippine National Police-Region 3, led by Pol. Brig. Gen. Rhodel Orden Sermonia, for providing security in the assembly, and the Sangguniang Kabataan for the pledge of support.