“You may be the last generation to make a difference,” said Commissioner Percival Cendaña in ” Pangako Sa’yo: An Environmental Pledge. “

Delegates, executive councils, guests, and students have convened for the day 2 of the First Ateneo Eco Congress last September 2, 2015 at the Finster Auditorium.

” Environmental actions are too mainstream. But we beg to differ. Environmental challenge is an everyday challenge. We are here to converse and to converge,”,stated by Khryzza Mae Pinzon, the Internal Vice President of PIGLASAPAT. She shared her views on young leaders’ environmental activism through her speech.

Commissioner Percival Cendaña, the current head of National Youth Commission for Education and Gender and Development, and known to hold titles of the youngest Akbayan partylist National Chairperson and UP Babaylan, was the guest of honor for the event.

He talked about youth asserting their identities and about how “leaders are expected to come up with solutions.” He challenged everyone to be “pasaway” in such a way that one will not conform to what society thinks about the youth’s dreams. He even used the Facebook status “It’s complicated” to describe the relationship between Earth and the humans and the civil status “separated” to let people realize what will happen to us if the environment declared separation from humans.

The highlight of the event was the official oath-taking that had also marked the end of the program. A pledge wall was posted outside the auditorium. Attendees had placed their right hands in green paint to leave their marks signifying their presence and participation in taking care of the environment.

One a one-on-one interview with the commissioner, he expressed his views further about how to kindle the fire of passion, principle and people inside young leaders of today and tomorrow. He added, “paano mas paliLIYABin pa ito?” (how to ablaze it more?)

“Having dreams being not just about yourself, that’s the seedbed, that’s the first step into the path of leadership, that you are dreaming of things not for yourself but for others. What you thought is correct and right may not be as realistic as now but it has a value in the future or it might be unattainable or difficult to implement but eventually, if you put your effort into it, if you put your heads together, that’s something that can eventually be doable.”

And when asked about his take on the whole Eco Congress’ organizer, PIGLASAPAT, the commissioner said, “I admire the organizers of the Eco Congress because they were able to pull the necessary resources, the energy, the commitment to put up an event like this. This is the first time I saw a student group to lead an initiative like this. This is a bold activity. Venues like this could draw out from young people their ideas.”

Written by Winona Sebastian