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Nat’l Youth Day to tackle drug problem, online challenges

Nat’l Youth Day to tackle drug problem, online challenges

Around 3, 000 youth from across the country flash their cellphones during the “Grand Festival Night” to end the National Youth Day 2015 held in Tuguegarao City on Nov. 14, 2015. ANA PERUCHO

MANILA— Illegal drug use among Filipino youth and social media challenges are concerns that an upcoming gathering of young Catholics from across the country will tackle head on.

This year’s National Youth Day in Zamboanga City is expected to look at how to deal with the drug threat among the youth and will discuss measures from preventive education, counselling to rehabilitation.

Zamboanga archdiocesan youth director Fr. Leh Taib said they want the NYD, which will be held from Nov. 6 to 10, to underline the youth ministry’s commitment to helping young people become better citizens.

“In Zamboanga City (alone), barangays are identified as affected, slightly affected and seriously affected… and majority users are youth,” said the priest.

Organizers said social media and technology jargon will be used throughout the event.

The priest said these online challenges facing the youth today will be addressed through catechesis and strengthened values formation.

“We don’t try to stop [technology], we try to see how these gadgets can be used to help introduce the values to the youth,” said Zamboanga Archdiocesan Youth coordinator Mark Saavedra, NYD spokesperson.

Thousands of young people from different dioceses are expected to attend the celebration, which was organized to affirm the Church’s solidarity with the youth.

Taib said the NYD was conceptualized by the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in 1986, when the Church realized “that there must be a preferential attention to the youth”.

This year’s theme echoes that of the 32nd World Youth Day in 2017, “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).

“To give you a glimpse of the general program, the youth usually gathers in the opening and closing. In the days in between, they are distributed in festival sites,” Saavedra said. CBCPNews