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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

First Mr. and Ms. Cordillera Youth Autonomy Ambassadors crowned

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

Baguio City, Philippines – The representatives of Kalinga and Abra were crowned Mr. and Ms. Cordillera Autonomy Youth Ambassadors 2022, respectively.

They shall be frontline advocates of the quest for autonomy for the youth that comprise a large number of the voting population in the region and are considered to be the key to winning the yes vote and attaining autonomy once a plebiscite is called.

The search was launched by the Regional Department of Social Welfare and Development, the host agency for the 35th Cordillera anniversary, as a creative platform to advocate the long-term goal of self-determination and governance to the younger generation in the region.

Held on July 30 at the Convention Center in Baguio City, the pageant was part of the culminating activities of the 2022 Cordillera founding anniversary celebration.

All candidates were judged on Autonomy Advocacy Pitch (15%), Creative Cordillera Festival Attire (15%), Cordillera Talent (15%), Ethnic Inspired Evening Gown (15%), and Question and Answer (40%).

Shawn Michael Barila, the male candidate of Kalinga bested six other representatives and claimed the title Mr. Cordillera Autonomy Youth Ambassador, while Angela May Respicio of Abra was proclaimed Ms. Cordillera Autonomy Youth Ambassador.

Settling for the first runner-up spot were Mr. Kyle Jon K. Tultog of Ifugao and Ms. Mericar D. Togana of Mt. Province while Mr. Novy Jones L. Aban of Benguet and Ms. Earene Joy A. Dawagan of Kalinga finished second runner-up.

Special Awards

Barila likewise bagged Best in Cordillera Talent, Best in Autonomy Pitch, and Best in Creative Cordillera Attire.

The winning female candidate also won Best in Cordillera Talent, Best in Creative Cordillera Attire, and Best in Formal Cordillera Attire.

Meanwhile, Dawagan got the Best in Autonomy Pitch, while Abra male representative, John Paul Juanillo was awarded the Best in Formal Cordillera Attire and Mr. Photogenic. Miss Photogenic was conferred to Marilou B. Saguidec of Benguet.

Winning answer of Barila and Respicio

During the question-and-answer portion, all representatives were asked the same question: “If you will win as the first ever Mr./Ms. Cordillera Youth Autonomy Ambassador, what legacy would you like to leave or how would you want to be remembered during your reign?”

Barila confidently answered, “I would like to be remembered as the Mr. Ambassador who won when the autonomy was achieved because I would like to use this privilege/role to raise awareness on autonomy, especially on IECs and that I will tap the academe, the LGUs, and partner-agencies so that we could reach those that are not being reached by social media, especially in the far-flung areas.”

“And I would like to inject moral recovery initiatives to mitigate the mental and the emotional aftereffects of the pandemic. And I would like to be remembered as someone who was able to fulfill his duties and responsibilities as the ‘Timek’ or The Voice of the Youth,” he added.

Respicio, on the other hand, said: “My legacy would be my personal project that I would want to promote and that is ‘Sining ken Musika, Usaren tapnun Magun-od ti Otonomiya.’ That is music and arts jamboree because I believe that we, the young Cordillerans have a great passion for arts and music. And this aims to first entice the youth and be knowledgeable about what autonomy really is. The second is to show their creative talents in promoting autonomy. And most importantly, is to encourage them to be more proactive by posting these masterpieces on social media for I do believe that if we develop the full potentialities of our young Cordillerans, we can be a magnificent force towards a better and more successful Cordillera Autonomous Region.”

The newly crowned Ambassadors are expected to serve as spokespersons in promoting the cause of autonomy especially to the youth of Cordillera.


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