Second SIKLAB Kabataan tackles mental health, climate crisis, SOGIESC
After tackling organizational management and concept development for student-leaders last Nov. 13, Sinag ng Kaalaman at Alab ng Kakayahan Para sa Kabataan or SIKLAB Kabataan focused on addressing different socioeconomic concerns in its second and final installment, via Zoom, Nov. 20.
The Ten Outstanding Junior College Students (TOJCS) – Batch Sinaglaum of De La Salle Lipa (DLSL), who organized the event, divided the topics of mental health, Sex Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIE-SC), and the climate crisis into three separate breakout rooms.
Atty. Marianito Dio Jr., a lawyer at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the speaker of the breakout session, entitled ‘Our Actions Matter: The Climate Crisis and the Pandemic,’ emphasized the need for environmental preservation through commitment.
For Dio, honoring small acts such as performative activism is a coping mechanism for individuals who think they already did their part in saving the environment, which harms the environment rather than good since people would have unreasonable expectations from small matters.
“We should not let the systematic failures of the world prevent us from making individual changes. We take accountability and still do what we can,” Dio stated.
Dionne Patrisha Calosa, a third-year communication student from DLSL and a participant of the event, agreed with Dio and stated that people tend to look for a hero when they glorify individual actions.
“Realistic ang intro ni Sir Jun. Ipinaliwanag niya na hindi naman talaga kayang ayusing ang climate and environmental problems […] hanggang nabubuhay ka nagco-consume tayo ng resources. Pero huwag naman daw ‘defeatist’ ang attitude na suko ka na agad hindi ka pa nagsisimula,” Calosa said.
Meanwhile, Raden Raz, founder of Lasallian Alliance of Youth Advocates for Equality (DLSL LAYA), was the speaker for the second breakout session, where they discussed differentiation between gender identity and expression and how it may or may not be identical to or dissimilar to the sex assigned at birth.
“SOGIESC is a set of guidelines, not rules since it is about human rights expressing how some people may be different, but everyone is equal,” said Raz.
Furthermore, Raz emphasized how labels can be tools of oppression or liberation depending on how people use them.
Meanwhile, the third breakout session entitled ‘Staying Sane During the Pandemic’ was facilitated by Lovely Evaretta, a psychology professor from DLSL, who spoke about various mental health concerns, their causes, and how they can be addressed.
“Acknowledge your feelings, allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling through journaling, talking to others, doing something creative, or practicing meditation,” said Evaretta.
Afterward, a roundtable discussion with other guest speakers, including the Executive Director of Hirayang Kabataan, Atty. Carlo Gino Africa, John Lawrence Carandang from Teach for the Philippines Fellowship Program, Rappler Contributor Ericka Nieto, and We The Youth Vote Representative Janina Vela took place.
During the session, the speakers discussed different spiels, from sharing their political awakening moments to advising participants on how to contribute to nation-building through their individual and collective actions.
Nieto highlighted that with the current political climate, it is also our responsibility to speak up to ensure that future generations have an inclusive and oppression-free community.
“If people enable oppression and urge us to do the same and be silent, we should not let those people dictate how we take action towards nurturing a democratic culture—as this is our right,” Nieto shared.
On the other hand, ninth TOCJS placer Jasmine Abigayle Pitogo shared that SIKLAB Kabataan was a way for the organization to give back to the community, even in this online setup.
According to Pitogo, the webinar was initially only offered to junior high school students from Batangas province but was subsequently made available to all students nationwide since the topics discussed were relevant for all levels.
Despite having over a hundred people registered for the event’s second session, unanticipated connectivity issues forced many people to miss it, leaving only over 40 to 50 attendees.
“More than a hundred participants were expected since many guests registered, but unexpected connectivity problems during the event, unfortunately, caused a lot of participants to miss the session,” Pitogo stated.
Meanwhile, Pitogo shared that despite this webinar being the last event from TOJCS Batch Sinaglaum, she is looking forward to future batches to continue and enhance what they have started with SIKLAB Kabataan.
(Related story: http://lavoxa.org/2021/11/19/siklab-kabataans-first-session-tackles-youth-leadership-org-skills/)