Words by Mara Karniella Sugue
Photos by Gabi Fresnido
Last September 1, speakers from different sectors gathered together at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura for a day full of meaningful talks. Forward Pilipinas aims to spark conversations among today’s Filipino youth. “What was, what is, or what could be. What could we be?” was a reoccurring tagline present on the event’s screens. From topics about food and culture to justice and inequality, the event left the audience with important questions to ponder on.
Nico Bolzico shares his insights on agriculture and farming in the Philippines
Some of the notable speakers included LM10 founder and president Nico Bolzico, who talked about connecting farmers through technology and making farmers a scheme in the production. Not merely a tool. Peace activist Regine Guevara, was also present, who opened the series of talks by explaining how the Filipino is an evolving concept, and that shared problems call for shared solutions.
Dr. Kim says the government’s goal should be utilizing public transporation
The talk also featured Dr. Gyeng Chul Kim, former president of Korean Transport Institute, who likened the traffic problem in the Philippines to South Korea’s Gangnam’s previous problem on traffic as well. He offers a possible solution by sharing what they did. According to Dr. Kim, they solved the Gangnam traffic problem by enhancing public transport and reducing private car spaces.
Maria Ressa shares how fast data spreads on the internet
Another speaker, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, talked about her experiences during the past three years. She also explained the important role of data and technology in today’s time, expounding on the global phenomenon of what she calls “patriotic trolling.” She also encouraged the Filipino youth to support free and fearless journalism. And, at the end of her talk, she called for the youth to demand a safe space on social media for ourselves, our friends, and our families.
Lourdes Sereno asks the audience to have courage in the face of injustice
Lastly, Forward Pilipinas also invited former Supreme Court Chief Justice, Ma. Lourdes Sereno. Her astounding talk was addressed to the Filipino youth and what they should do in the face of injustice. She says that, “The quiet place of our pain is where we can find the key to our redemption.” She ended her talk by telling the Filipino youth “to be brave, stand, and have courage.”
Foward Pilipinas Speakers (L-R): Maria Ressa, Ralph Becker, Regine Guevara, Dr. Gyeng Chul Kim, Marla Darwin, Dedet de la Fuente, Ma. Lourdes Sereno
The talks during Forward Pilipinas were a call to action to the Filipino youth. It provided the attendees, both youth and old, with meaningful insights to the Philippines’ most difficult problems. And as Sereno said, “There is only one thing to be afraid of—not doing what is right.”