‘You are never too young to help,’ Hontiveros tells youth leaders


Sen. Risa Hontiveros speaks at the conference led by the UST Legal Management Society on Sept. 24, 2022.
Screenshot from UST Legal Management Society’s Facebook page

STUDENT LEADERS should not let their youth hinder them from speaking out and influencing “positive” change in the lives of their fellow young Filipinos, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said.

“Use your platform to speak truth to power and help push for reforms to help address the need of young Filipinos. You are never too young to help,” Sen. Risa Hontiveros said at a conference organized by the UST Legal Management Society on Sept. 24.

“You are never too young to speak out and be heard, and to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros gave the student organization a nod for “imparting new lessons, skills and friends” in becoming better leaders, students and citizens.

“As a former student-leader, I thank you for your concern for your fellow students and your respective communities. I wish you all the best in becoming the best servant-leaders who will help transform our nation,” the senator said

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno echoed the senator’s sentiments, advising the youth to remain on the “path of truth.”

“We should call out the trolls, bashers, those who spread fake news and historical distortions,” Diokno said.

In line with promoting truth in leadership, Diokno also quoted his father, Commission on Human Rights founding chair Jose Diokno, in understanding the essence of being a leader in two specific qualities: national conscience and national consciousness.

The lawyer also cited other qualities a servant leader should have such as the ability to listen and consult the needs of the people, prioritizing the community’s interests over oneself.  

What makes a good leader

In the earlier parts of the conference, Dr. Janine Patricia “Tricia” Robredo, daughter of former Vice President Leni Robredo, also urged the student leaders to prioritize confidence alongside humility

“It’s important to be humble but it’s also important to be confident in your abilities,” Dr. Robredo said.

“For me, the mark of a good leader isn’t what he’s capable of doing but what he enables other people to do […] The leader should be the one who empowers,” she added

Maginhawa Community Pantry founder Ana Patricia Non cited the need to collectively represent other sectors when it comes to survival.

“To live or survive, we need equity on top of equality. We need to exert extra effort for the most vulnerable sectors,” Non said. 

In 2021, Non established a community pantry along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City which she stacked with free goods such as vegetables, canned goods, and rice.

Non revealed that despite the challenges of health risks, harassment, and red-baiting since the community pantry began, she believed that “love and kindness won.”

“Survival could not only be survival of the fittest, it could be a collective survival where we all work together,” she said.

UST Central Student Council President Nathan Agustin noted that leading with purpose and passion is vital for efficient and effective leadership.

“I always try to remember the purpose of what I’m doing. I am here because there is a need to represent the students,” he said.

“ELEVATE: Legal Management Leaders’ Conference 2022” was organized by the UST Legal Management Society to “celebrate servant leadership” by gathering youth leaders across the country. F –  P. R Sabado and K. Chan 

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