Youth leaders bestow on Dr. Nestor Pestelos, Founder and President of Bohol Local Development Foundation and Bohol Tribune columnist,the Gawad Kadakilaan awardduring the 6th I Transform! Young Leaders Convention heldSeptember 21 to 26 at the Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City.
He received the award from Metodio Maraguinot and Nickson Felix Epe, chairman and president, respectively, of YouthLead Philippines (YLP) on September 23 before more than 700 participants from universities and colleges, youth associations and community youth groups all over the country.
The award cited Pestelos for “exemplary effort and noble commitment to the work of community development, reaching out to the poorest of the poor, creating local opportunities with their interest as the paramount concern, and for being an inspiration to the Filipino youth.”
YouthLead Philippines, a national youth organization registered with the SEC, launched the I Transform Campaign in 2012 as an annual event to mobilize the youth sector to support the 15-year global development agenda promoted by the UN, starting with the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and its successor this year, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). YDP is accredited as a convening organization for the global agenda by both the National Anti-Poverty Commission and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth Philippines.
The BLDF President, who was the former UNDP chief technical adviser on community development for ten South Pacific countries and Maldives from 1989 to 2002, delivered the keynote address at the opening of the national youth convention on the theme “Harnessing Innovations in Entrepreneurship and Governance, Transforming Communities.”
He noted that in the Philippines, approximately 31 percent of the population, or 27 million are aged 7 to 17 years. Of this number,
4 million are engaged in economic activity, and three fourths of these working children are in rural areas;
- Of the 4 million working children, 1.5 million had stopped/dropped out of school because of insufficient family/household income;
- 2.6 million are laborers and unskilled workers;
- Of the 4 million, more than half work for one to four hours per day, and 37.7% work for five to eight hours per day. Six out of ten children make less than $US10 or Php 500 per week.
Pestelos urged the youth leaders to help promote the organization of cooperatives among the youth noting that cooperatives have low capital requirements, limited liability, and in cases where members are also employees, the flexibility of self-employment.
He noted that the formal economy cannot create jobs fast enough to absorb the number of young people entering the labor force each year and, hence, youth leaders must help develop opportunities in informal employment and livelihood.
“This self-employment option is particularly important for young people to enter into the labour market when faced with problems of finding a first job due to lack of opportunities or lack of experience,” Pestelos said. “Cooperatives also play a role in formalization of informal employment through collective voice and economies of scale and extension of social protection.”
Pestelos was recipient of other awards during the last three years: the Rappler Enterprise Mover Award on Enterprise Development; Outstanding UP Los Banos Alumni Award for Community Service and Local Governance; and the Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan for Public Service.