As part of the mission of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) to provide the Filipino youth the opportunity to express their thoughts on the West Philippine Sea dispute, the USP4GG ran an essay contest from December 1, 2012 to February 8, 2013 with the theme “The West Philippine Sea and Its Impact on the Future of the Philippines”.
A panel of nine judges from various disciplines from different countries selected the winners from amongst more than 300 entries received from high school and college students in the Philippines and other countries. emanila founder and The Filipino Australian editor Romy Cayabyab was one of the judges.
Awarding of prizes to the top entries (three from high school level and three from college level) was held on February 26, 2013 in Makati City as part of the Second Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora conducted by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas under the Office of the President of the Philippines.
The winners of the essay contest were (College category) First Place – Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay of the University of the Philippines (Diliman), Second Place – Gervie Kay Estella of the University of Santo Tomas (Manila), and Third Place – Francis Dave Selorio of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (Iloilo City). In the High School category, the winners were First Place – Hentjie Oliver Tachado of La Salle College (Antipolo), Second Place – Reena Jenara Biso of Future Generation Philippine International School (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), and Third Place – Amihan Krystal De Leon of Colegio San Agustin (Makati City).
The essays were judged in terms of grammar, organisation, craftsmanship, substance, and impression. Critical in the evaluation of the essays is the question: “How can the youth help defend Philippines sovereignty over our territories and protect the marine and energy resources in the West Philippine Sea?” The essays generally recommended the use of the internet and social media as a platform in helping raise the level of awareness of the youth on the issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea dispute — from which they can progress further actions.
The first to be posted is “The Filipino Youth in Geopolitical Context: Leveraging the Power of Social Media and the Internet Towards Online Political Engagement in the West Philippine Sea Dispute” by Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay to be followed by Hentjie Oliver Tachado’s “Can We Turn Back From A Maelstorm? Breaking the Impasse over the West Philippine Sea”.
*** We thank the organising group US Pinoys For Good Governance through its essay contest chair and initiator Dr Celia Lamkin for giving us the permission to publish the winning entries.
Next: “The Filipino Youth in Geopolitical Context: Leveraging the Power of Social Media and the Internet Towards Online Political Engagement in the West Philippine Sea Dispute”