“No country and people can achieve true freedom and independence unless it has and have an engaged citizenry.”
Past Ramon Magsaysay awardee, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Hilario Davide Jr. shared this statement in a recent forum at the Black Box of Benilde’s School of Design and Arts Campus.
Organized by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, with the theme “Towards an Engaged Citizenry: The New Meaning of Freedom and Independence,” Davide together with Philippine Educational Theater Association president Cecilia Bulaong Garrucho, discussed the essence of freedom and independence.
“The new meaning is not actually new. In fact this should be the true and original meaning of freedom and independence,” noted Davide.
Davide explained that an engaged citizenry is a sector of all population composed of citizens who are empowered, informed, principled, responsive, responsible, committed, dedicated, creative, dynamic, courageous, and with impeccable integrity who place upon themselves the solemn duty of building a better tomorrow.
“This engaged citizenry is the only kind of community that is expected by the sovereign Filipino people to pursue and achieve their noble aspirations, hopes, and longings as signed in the preamble of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines,” he stated.
He added, “Our dear Philippines and all of Asia look upon you, youth! As knighted soldiers to transform the Philippines and to transform Asia as a haven of love, truth, justice, peace, equality, prosperity, stability, and where independence and democracy under the rule of law shall reign and where freedom becomes a universal license to do good,” Davide defined.
Garrucho, meanwhile, expounded that art can be tapped as a campaign to save something that is important, cared, loved.
Davide and Garrucho reminded the youth to make their presence known and to campaign worthwhile advocacies.
The former Chief Justice repeatedly urged the young audience to discover their talents and use them. “It requires a lot of patience on your part, but you have to look forward. Go beyond. You have to assert your power,” he said.
“A creative person can never be crashed if you always find ways to solve the problems even if it seems that there are no solutions,” stressed Garrucho.
Participants to the forum included students and youth leaders from Asian Institute of Management, Ateneo de Manila University School of Law, Angels Here Abound Learning Center, ASEAN Youth Engagement Summit, I am Climate Justice, DAKILA Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, Young Bridging Leaders, and DLS-CSB’s School of Diplomacy and Governance and School of Management and Information Technology.