John Mark Jacinto: Making a Mark for the Future
It was an honor to represent the Philippines for the APEC Voices of the Future Summit 2021.
From November 09 – 12, 2021, I, alongside four (4) fellow passionate young leaders, represented the Philippines at the APEC Voices of the Future Summit 2021. Representing our respective insights and perspectives, we were assigned various thematic topics — issues critical to the APEC member economies’ response towards building a better normal for all.
Together with the other youth delegates from the APEC Member-Economies, we participated in a series of sessions related to international cooperation, climate action, digital future, and inclusivity. We learned a lot from the sessions as the youth delegates of other member economies provided their insights and perspectives related to the said four themes and recommended necessary solutions and actions for APEC leaders to consider in building a better and more sustainable future for all. We were amazed that the Prime Minister of New Zealand, H.E. Jacinda Ardern, wholeheartedly accepted our Youth Declaration, and promised to consider and integrate our perspectives in the leaders’ conversation. This was when I knew how important our voices were to the conversation. However, for our voices to be amplified and heard, we must have more mechanisms to empower ourselves in discussions like APEC and other inter-country dialogues.
In the Philippines, all four themes were relevant and critical to the economic recovery, environmental protection, and social inclusion of the economy, particularly as we move forward from a post-pandemic situation. Through this program, we learned other best practices and used the successes and challenges of other economies to localize them in our economy. Cooperation is necessary to respond to the pandemic, recover from the pandemic, and detect potential pandemics. Aside from medical reasons, international cooperation and collaboration on other aspects are also critical in achieving economic growth and recovery. We believe that we should act on the COVID-19 and other issues happening in the APEC, with synergy and collaboration.
As Filipino delegates of this prestigious gathering, we must take this as an opportunity and a challenge to our fellow youths. It is an opportunity because we can impart our learnings and insights to them, but also a challenge since we have to ensure that we can localize it effectively and continue engaging with different stakeholders to build a better future for the Philippines and APEC.
We are thankful for the opportunity to be part of the APEC Voices of the Future, and we are looking forward to APEC’s role in the new normal