“Sustainable development is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Competitiveness and sustainability are the recipe for survival in any problem. The Filipino youth of today have become more aware of current challenges, and empowered youth will make a difference in our country.”

This was how Mr. Sebastian Quinones Jr., General Manager of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., challenged and encouraged 205 high school and college student delegates in his keynote speech at the Shell 2013 Sustainable Development (SD) Youth Congress, held on September 28, 2013 in the University of Asia and the Pacific. The other speakers at the Youth Congress gave their takes on combining competitiveness and sustainability.

There is a favorite motto of industrial engineers: ‘There is always a better way,’” said Dr. Peter Lee U, SEC Dean. “Natural gas is one of the cheaper ways of producing electricity. But beyond supply and demand are social factors–there are great numbers of poor people, and one has to think of subsidizing for them.”

Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas, UA&P co-founder, gave interesting advice:

“Common to the positive statements on the Philippine economy is a young, growing, educated population. I hope those of you who will get married will have many babies. Equating pregnancy with a disease would compromise future generations. And with those of you who will start businesses, you can increase the rate of investments, to make our economic growth sustainable.”

Dr. Florencio Gaa, SSE Dean, related an ingenious story:

“A Japanese man collected plastic garbage, distilled it, and now drives his truck with diesel that he himself refined. This is not sophisticated science. The solutions are within your reach.”

And Francis Galeon, VP of the UA&P student org Catalyst, brought the point home to his fellow students.

“Do we think about nation-building in our free time? Probably not. But nation-building is about the rules of the game sanctioned by society, and giving importance to small things like traffic signs.”

After the talks, lunch and SD project workshops, the student delegates were greeted by the sound of electric guitars as guest band New Divide from College of San Benildo ushered in the new Shell competitions on SD essay writing, video presentations and song writing. The student delegates were treated to song numbers from the three finalists, Himala Band from Caloocan National Science and Technology High School, Sunday Evening from UST, and the winner, TIP Voice with their song “Kilos Kilos Din Pag May Time.”

The student delegates ended the day by uniting their SD project proposals to form a map of the Philippines.  This was echoed by Ms. Gilleane Altuna, President of the UA&P Business Economics Association, in her Closing Remarks:

“Jose Rizal said, ‘Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.’ But how many generations have passed? Now is the right time for Filipino youth to own the responsibility of being the country’s hope.”

Forming a human Shell logo in their concluding photo, the students’ patience in making their formation and smiles as the cameras flashed reflected their happiness in meeting new friends, and the willingness to continue on the road to sustainable development.

More details are available on the Shell Youth Facebook page: