Senator Sonny Angara is urging young Filipinos to aim high, believe in themselves and do the work required to achieve their goals and realize their dreams.

According to Angara, every Filipino youth has the potential to be great and young age is not an obstacle.

“Young age is no barrier to achieving greatness,” the seasoned legislator said. “Hindi nakasalalay sa edad ang kakayahan para makapag-ambag at makatulong sa pagbabago ng bansa, at ng buong mundo.”

Angara said the youth’s participation in the May 13 polls is a potent instrument of change.

“The country’s future lies in the hands of youngsters, so it is important that they pay attention to the election and use their votes wisely,” the senator said.

“The country’s future lies in the hands of youngsters.”

According to data from the Commission on Elections, there are more than 63 million registered Filipino voters. Of this total, the youth-especially those born in the mid-1990s and early 2000s-comprise around 31 percent, or more than 18.8 million voters.

To prove that young age is no barrier to becoming great, he noted that acclaimed singer-actress Lea Salonga was just 18 when she originated the role of Kim in the megamusical “Miss Saigon”; Jake Zyrus was 15-year-old Charice when she wowed American audience at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”; and Migz Villafuerte was elected governor of Camarines Sur at the age of 24.

“Twenty-one years old naman si Dr. Jose Rizal noong umalis siya ng bansa para mag-aral sa Espanya, at 25 noong tinapos niya ang ‘Noli Me Tangere’. Si Emilio Jacinto naman, 19 lamang noong unang sumali siya sa Katipunan at 24 years old lang si Gen. Gregorio del Pilar noong napatay siya sa Pasong Tirad,” Angara added.

The youth, he said, should not be afraid to dream big and take pride in the fact that “many of our countrymen have already blazed trails for even more Filipinos to achieve great things on the global stage.”

Angara cited the likes of industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue; inventor and tech innovator Dado Banatao, who is hailed as the “Pinoy Bill Gates”; Engineer Josephine Santiago-Bond, chief of NASA’s Advanced Engineering Development Branch; Columbia Journalism School Dean Shiela Coronel; Mary Astrid Tuminez, first female president of the Utah Valley University; and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

“In one way or another, their work has opened enough doors so that any of you could very well be among the next list of Filipinos to wow the world,” he stressed.

Angara nevertheless said that greatness is not something people are born with, but something achieved and acquired through determination and hard work.

Don’t forget that nothing worth having comes easily. Ang umaayaw ay ‘di nagwawagi at ang nagwawagi ay ‘di umaayaw-lalo na’t ‘pag may tiyaga, may nilaga,” he said.

“Nothing worth having comes easily.”

Angara called on the youth to believe in themselves while assuring them that there are people in government like him who wholeheartedly believe in their capabilities to bring change not just to the country, but also the world.

“Know that there are people like me who are ready to give you as much support as possible. We have done this through laws we’ve fought for through the years,” he said.

Angara has helped make free education from kindergarten to college possible through the Universal Kindergarten Law and Free College Education Law, which he both co-authored.

He also authored the law institutionalizing Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in all provinces, municipalities and cities across the country. The law has strengthened PESO’s employment facilitation services to help more Filipinos land a job.

Aside from ensuring quality and affordable education from kindergarten to college, Angara also co-authored the recently enacted First-Time Jobseekers Act, which exempts first-time jobseekers from paying fees on police clearance, NBI clearance, birth certificate and other government-issued documents that may be required by employers.

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