For many of us, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when faced with a problem. The feeling of helplessness is even stronger when it’s a problem that happens on a larger scale, maybe being a national or even a global issue. But these 15 inspiring Filipinos take matters into their own hands and tell us how we, too, can help out in our own ways.
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15. Crystal Francisco (YWCA Debate Camp)
(IG: @crystalannefrancisco Twitter: @msfuturepresz)
What is your advocacy and its significance? The YWCA Debate Cup is a debate camp and tournament for public high school students, sponsored by the YWCA Founder’s Federation and the La Salle Debate Society. The goal of the program is to hone students’s public-speaking and communications skills, to use debate as a tool to discuss issues that concern us and the world around us, and to develop future leaders who will have a greater understanding of the world, and who will choose to speak out for those who cannot do so for themselves.
How would you encourage others to do their own part? Please encourage young people you know to pursue debate, if they have it in their schools! It sounds nerdy, but I promise, they will come out better people for it. Or, maybe you’re not a student but you feel like the principle of debate resonates with you – push yourself to read more, beyond your Facebook and Twitter feed. Remember that the point of debate is not to remain in a constant state of argumentation, but to find answers to questions, solutions to challenges.
14. Sam Tamayo (Project Smile)
(@thesamtamayo / @projectsmilephilippines)
What is your advocacy and its significance? My advocacy is to help uplift the lives of underprivileged and neglected Filipinos, and I do that through our work in Project SMILE. We have an ongoing campaign right now called #PeopleWith which recognizes PWDs beyond their disabilities. Through this initiative, we wish to raise awareness, promote inclusion, and empower PWDs.
How would you encourage others to do their own part? I encourage others to be a part of our movement through on-the-ground engagements with our partners and beneficiaries as well as online promotions in our social media accounts. At Project SMILE, we hope to inspire others, especially the Youth, to be proactive citizens. By publishing our activities in our Facebook and Instagram accounts, we not only promote transparency but also are able to spread the word about our initiatives and campaigns.
13. Cal Lim Tolentino (The Gay Agenda)
What is your advocacy and its significance? As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have always advocated for safe spaces for the community and the overall acceptance of people within it. As a Trans Man, my advocacies generally lean towards my specific community where trans individuals can freely live out their truths. I advocate for the equal treatment of the trans community and this is mostly driven by my personal experiences as a Trans Man. In a world where trans individuals are accepted, I would not have needed to listen and read online all the hate being thrown towards my community.
How would you encourage others to do their own part? Every day, I think, I strive to show people that being a part of the LGBTQ+ community does not alienate me from their own experiences. In order to encourage people to advocate for gender equality, safe spaces, and the general acceptance of people within the community, I try to show everyone I interact with that being a part of the LGBTQ+ community does not separate us from them, that we all still have common experiences and motivations. With these, I always hope to show them that there is only room for love and acceptance.
12. Ronivin Garcia Pagtakhan (Love Yourself)
(Twitter/IG: @doctress_vinn IG: @loveyourself.ph Twitter: @loveyourselfph)
What is your advocacy and its significance? Eight years ago, together with a handful of friends, I started a LoveYourself. It was basically a group of friends who wanted to help out by providing free HIV testing and counseling because, through one way or another, their lives were affected by HIV. I am inspired as HIV is very close to home when I lost my partner because of it and I told myself that I will make sure to fight this epidemic
We at LoveYourself developed a culture that emphasizes a positive approach toward HIV awareness and sexual health versus the fear approach that was often used in the early days. We pushed for the values of LOVE, BELONGING, and being SEX POSITIVE.
How would you encourage others to do their own part? I would like to call the attention of all the readers. HIV is a national emergency, a clear and present danger to the youth today thus requiring intense, deliberate, and drastic action. I hope I can count on each of you to help in stopping the spread of HIV in the Philippines. Together lets create ripples of positive change, And this positive change starts from one’s self – by daring, caring and sharing. Daring to know yourself, so you’ll be able to care for yourself and to share one’s self as a way of multiplying joy to others.
To know more about our programs and how to support our advocacy us please visit us at www.loveyourself.ph\