John Renzo with one of the Army during the Leadership Summit

“Natuto akong gumawa ng mga activities para sa kabataan kahit hindi ako SK kagawad or SK chairman, tinuro saamin na magisip ng gawain para sa mga kabataan.” (I learned to create activities for the youth, even though I’m not a SK member or SK chairman, we were taught to think of activities for the youth of our barangay or our city.) – John Renzo Santos, 19 years old.

John Renzo Santos family is one of the 3,215 members of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families in the National Capital Region. They once lived in a public cemetery at Himlayang Palanyag, Barangay San Dionisio, Paranaque City. With the provision of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’s Support Service Interventions, they were able to build the foundation and walls of their home and exit the ground of homelessness.

Last August 2-4, 2019, he represented Paranaque City at the 9th Regional Youth Leadership Summit 2019: “Kabataan ng Kalakhang Maynila: Kaisa sa Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran” held at Harescom, Philippine Army, Camp Riego de Dios, Tanza Cavite. He described the experience as fruitful and memorable.

“Tuturuan ka kung paano maging youth leader sa komunidad” (They will teach you how to become a youth leader in the community) John emphasized. Through the Summit, he shared that he learned how to react proactively during disaster situations. It is more than just preparing disaster kits but to be mentally prepared during strikes. He added that they were also educated about various explosive devices. Through the new learnings, they became aware not to simply attend any meetings organized out of nowhere. Apart from these, they also tackled awareness on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which is timely and relevant for the youth.

One of the activities he would not forget is the speedboat activity where the speedboat will circle twice and when the trainer points at you, you will jump and swim back to the shore. This became memorable as he saved one of the participants who is about to drown for wearing frayed life vest.

He claimed that as a youth leader, you have to consider your members. He is proud of himself as he was nominated during election to become one of the officers. Even though he did not win, for him it is already an accomplishment to be recognized as worthy of becoming a president. Nevertheless, he was elected as the South District Representative which covers the cities of Paranaque, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Taguig, and Pasay.

According to him, this Summit created youth leaders who must step up in their community. It is time to refute the claims that the youth are no longer the hope of our country.

As for the family of John, they are recommended to be mainstreamed as part of the Regular Conditional Cash Transfer of Pantawid Pamilya through the progressive interventions they have received. ###

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