|Johnrell Revilla shares about the advocacy of WYCA.|
Having a conversation with my fellow Sarangan – Johnrell M. Revilla – makes you inspired to continue your advocacies in life. As one of the consistent youth leaders in Region XII, he never misses the chance to help and support his country in his own little ways. He becomes one of the change agents who like to produce more of its kind for a better society.
Johnrell took up Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in English at St. Mary’s College in Tagum City. After college he worked at Provincial Capitol of Davao Oriental but later on he decided to return to Alabel, his hometown, to pursue his passion. When he returned to Alabel, he organized the Working Youth Club of Alabel (WYCA).
WYCA was organized in October 10, 2001 and was formally registered at Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2007. In line with the mandate of Working Youth Center (WYC) created 30 years ago, it envisioned to serve as a facility center for delivering services to the working youth especially in the areas of labor protection, workers welfare promotion and leadership and productivity formation.
WYCA aims to unite the voices of the youth and be able to exercise their rights to speak up and be heard on the issues that affects them. The organization advocates for the youth rights such as the right to access of basic services and youth empowerment. “We want every young person to be prepared in life through genuine opportunities and authentic youth involvement. We help the youth to utilize their power and expertise to foster change in their communities and in their own lives,” Johnrell says.
Over the years, WYCA has evolved from a small advisory board to a one of the active youth organizations in SOCSKSARGEN. “Before, we were a small advisory board giving input on the issues that affected the youth. Now, WYCA become an organization that produces good and effective agents of change in their respective communities.”
WYCA has four pillars, namely - Education, Environment, Entrepreneurship and Employment. Since its inception, they have conducted various activities such as Leadership Skills Trainings, Youth Ambassador’s Program, Youth for Environmental Summit, Livelihood/Skills Upgrading and Summer Internship Program. With the support of different government agencies, NGOs and most importantly the youth sector, they are able to materialize those programs and produce good leaders in SOCSKSARGEN. This year, WYCA focuses on Ambassador’s Program (e.g. exchange student going to Japan), Disaster Risk Reduction related activities and Anti-poverty programs.
“WYCA is like a family,” Johnrell says. “We treat each other like brothers and sisters. We support each other in every endeavor we face.”
Since the organization promotes the welfare of the youth, they have affiliated with different secondary schools in Sarangani. WYCA assists the school’s need for development both in academic and extracurricular activities. For example, they help organize different youth activities in Alabel National High School (ANHS) where their office is located, Colon National High School in Maasim and Kling National High School in Kiamba, Sarangani Province.
As any other organizations, WYCA also encountered challenges that taught them valuable lessons. “The support of WYCA declines over the years,” Johnrell recounts. “Before 18 schools in Sarangani supported WYCA advocacies but now it drop to 12 schools and not all of these 12 schools are active. Moreover, some principals do not support our cost. Sometimes it is really frustrating but we still continue to work it out in spite of all the challenges.” The issue of transparency also put into the scene. Some teachers question his authority on handling the funds. But Johnrell remains accountable and transparent and let his action speak for itself.
As a youth leader, he is not interested in exposing himself into the limelight just to get notice. “Let’s somebody talk to you,” as he says. He does not like applying in award giving bodies like TAYO just for the sake of applying.
Johnrell also (co)organized the Mindanao Educators Alliance Network (MEAN). This organization was formed last January 13, 2015 at the National Sectoral Assembly held in Manila. It primary objectives are the promotion of Governance on Local Democracy (GOLD) and Good Governance.
He encourages the youth to be participative in youth activities in their area. “The youth should not be shy in approaching their youth leaders in their area,” says Johnrell. “If they are involved in nation building, they will realize their role in the society.”
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