By Lanelyn Carillo

“Don’t do it. You are wasting your time,” is the advice of child reporters Rheyalene, 13, Mark, 16, and Jason, 15, from Palawan to all children and youth who are members of fraternities or sororities and to those who are still thinking of joining.

The three children are anchors in the afternoon radio program “Usap Bata,” which is aired every Friday over Radio GMA in Palawan, Philippines.

“There is no correct reason why youth should be part of any fraternity. If you seek friendship, then look for people who would lead you to become a better you, not the worst you,” says Mark.

The young reporters observed that youth who are members of sororities or fraternities in schools are usually bullies, frequently absent, and have bad reputations among students.

They said fraternity members think they are cool, the best. But, in truth, a majority of students dislike them for having a bad and egoistic attitude. “They do not earn the trust of anyone. They just put their names on a bad light,” Jason remarks.

Rheyalene adds, “There are better options for you. You could join children’s organizations in your community or join sports activities.”

The topic on fraternities was discussed by the child reporters over their radio program where they interviewed a former fraternity member, who revealed the various forms of hazing he had to go through to be part of the fraternity. He quit because he failed to see the kind of friendship he was looking for.

The radio segment aired recently is part of the children’s participation in the Global Week of Action, an annual global advocacy event of World Vision where both adults and children express together the need for change in their communities.

Youth Play a Key Role

This year, World Vision aims to make youth a part of the Sustainable Development Goals in a post-Millennium Development Goals world by helping children identify concerns in their communities that need to be addressed – child labor, improper waste disposal, smoking among youth, water, and values formation.

“Garbage makes our surrounding dirty and unhealthy for children,” says Shin, age 8.

Garbage is one of the leading problems in the Philippines. In Metro Manila alone, it is estimated that 6,700 tons of garbage are generated per day, of which approximately 720 tons is recycled or composted. The balance — some 6,000 tons daily — is either hauled to the city’s dump sites, dumped illegally on private land, in rivers, creeks, Manila Bay, or openly burned — adding to the heavily polluted air.

“Children shouldn’t be selling food in the streets nor working in the streets. It is a dangerous place for them. They should be in school or playing with their neighbor children not working,” says Sherald, age 14. Based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) 2007 data, there are 2.1 million children between the ages of 5-17 working in the Philippines.

“We hope parents would send their children to school and protect them from all harm,” Gladys and Erika, from a local community, add.

“I hope the local government can do something about the issues that we raised,” quips David, age 15.

Thank You, Local Government Officials

Though the children raised several issues to their local officials in a conversation last May 4-11, they also thanked their local government for the efforts in making their community a better and safe place for the children.

In Albay, children took photos of the surrounding trees and beautiful ocean that are being protected by their local officials. The photos were shown to several village chiefs and municipal representatives.

Children thanked their local government officials and health workers and for constructing day care centers and health centers.

The children expressed their gratitude to their local government for the water system built in their community.

“We know our government officials are also doing something good for us. We are aware of that. And for that, we thank them,” Vincent, 15, from Malabon, says.

Photo Credit: © 2015 World Vision/ photo by Lanelyn Carillo

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