MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Thursday enjoined youth leaders to help the government in its relentless efforts to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Andanar made the call as he acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented health crisis in the nation.
In his opening remarks during the third Covid-19 virtual town hall meeting, Andanar expressed optimism that youth will play a big role in the government’s fight against the novel coronavirus.
“I am confident that our country in the future will be in good hands with the current SKs (Sangguniang Kabataan or youth councils) and youth leaders we have today. May you continue to shine your bright light to the immediate generation behind you and just do everything to beat this virus together, to heal and to rise as one,” he said.
Participants of the virtual town hall meeting include members of youth councils and youth organizations.
The virtual conference was held as the country grapples with the Covid-19 crisis.
Andanar admitted that the government has to adjust and calibrate its short-, immediate- and long-term plans for this year due to the pandemic “that has drastically shaken us.”
“The 2020 vision we thought we had at the start of the year now hangs in the balance [and] stands uncertain and visually unclear. It is no longer a 2020 vision. We need an apparatus that will aid us in visualizing our deemed prospects because of Covid-19, a magnifying glass that would help us see the details we otherwise, could not see,” he said.
As of May 20, the Philippines has recorded 13,221 Covid-19 infections.
Around 2,932 Covid-19 patients have already recovered, while around 842 individuals have died due to the highly-infectious disease.
Aged 21 to 59 as ‘magnifying glass operator’
Andanar believes that individuals aged 21 to 59 can become the “operator” of the “magnifying glass” the country needs to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the country’s nurses, doctors, government front-liners, manufacturing laborers, office workers, security guards, janitors, and teachers who belong to the 21 to 59 age group should be deemed as part of the generation “that will spell our survival or the demise of this nation.”
“Those who are aged 21 to 59 are the ones tasked to continue nation-building. These are the ages who are pivotal to our survival as a nation,” Andanar said.
He issued the statement as he noted that people aged one to 20 and 60 and above have been excluded from the task of saving the nation from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Andanar said senior citizens must be protected at all times because of the danger that Covid-19 poses.
“The delicate ages of 60 and above, these are the ages who have already sacrificed for our country during their prime time of productivity. These people are the multiple reasons why we have a developing country today. They have already given their blood, sweat, and tears to our dear nation. They deserve to be protected by us,” he said.
Preserving those aged 1 to 20
Andanar also stressed the need to protect individuals aged one to 20.
He said the government cannot afford to sacrifice this age group because this will serve as a generation that “will run the country tomorrow.”
“The delicate ages between 1 to 20 are the ages we also need to preserve. These are the ages that we cannot sacrifice because they will be the ones who will replace us, all of us in this room,” he said.
Andanar asked the youth leaders to help those aged one to 20 to become “better” individuals.
“You will bridge the lessons that we have learned during this time of governance to the young who will run the country tomorrow. It rests on your shoulder to prepare the young today to be better than we are,” he said. (ia/PNA)