Leaders prepare for life after SK-A A +A
Sunday, October 6, 2013
LAPU-LAPU City Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation president Nicole Balao said she was saddened by the decision of President Benigno Aquino III to postpone the SK election.
“It’s sad because there will no longer be youth representation in all levels, from the barangay to the national level,” she said in a phone interview.
But she said this will not be a reason for SK leaders not to continue serving their communities. Balao said she and other SK leaders will still support the Lapu-Lapu City Government’s eco-tourism program even when they are no longer in office.
After the incumbent officials’ term ends on Nov. 30, youth will no longer have a representative in the councils. The law postponing the SK election does not keep incumbent officials in a holdover capacity.
Cebu City Councilor John Philip Po II said he believes the postponement of the SK election may be a step toward abolishing the youth group.
Aladdin Wilyamie Caminero, president of the SK Federation in Cebu Province, said that when his term ends at the end of November, he will concentrate on his studies and will just involve himself in youth activities by sharing his experience with them.
The barangay elections on Oct. 28 will proceed without a corresponding poll for the youth.
In Lapu-Lapu, City Hall has tapped the youth leaders to help arrange tours under its Olango My Getaway ecotourism project.
Balao said the SK national executive board may ask the court for a temporary restraining order against the postponement.
Last Monday, the board passed a position paper to the office of President Aquino, saying postponing the SK election is unconstitutional.
Balao said she and other youth leaders in Lapu-Lapu will continue to push for the youth agenda in the City Council.
Mandaue City SK Federation president Mikhail Jeric Cuizon, in an earlier interview, said having no youth representative in the local governments may hamper government services to the youth.
He said only a representative from their rank can truly understand the needs of the youth.
While he favors the postponement of the election, he incumbent officials’ term should be extended until the next election is held.
Cuizon said he agrees with the proposals to reform the SK, citing the need to increase the age requirement and to make SK a separate institution from the barangay.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, interviewed last Friday, said he supports the postponement of the SK election but he urged Congress to enact a law that will ensure the youth will still be represented in the barangay councils.
“There should be at least one seat in the barangay council for a youth representative. Di man sad nato i-ignore ang Kabataan (we can’t ignore the youth) because they are the future leaders,” he said.
While the youth needs representation in the barangay councils, the representative should be 18 to 24 years old.
For her part, Mandaue City Election Officer Anna Fleur Gujilde said having no SK officials until 2016 may serve as a “test run”
where people can observe whether local governments can function just as well without the SK.
Cebu City’s Po, however, said in a separate interview that the youth will cease to be represented in the local governments.
“Dili uyon ang SK Federation sa Cebu City ani (The Cebu City SK Federation disagrees with this,” said Po in a text message to Sun.Star Cebu.
Asked what he will do after his term ends, Po said he and other incumbent SK officials in the barangays plan to create a youth development council in every barangay.
Caminero, 20, said he will set a good example by following the rule of law, now that President Aquino has signed into law the consolidated Senate Bill 1186 and House Bill 2849.
Caminero plans to resume his business administration studies. He said his studies were sacrificed when, at 16, he assumed office in the SK.
As an SK chairman, Provincial Board (PB) member and student of airline mechanical technology in the Cebu Aeronautics and Technical School (Cats), he has had to balance his time and attention.
He transferred from one university to Cats, he said, because its campus in Lahug, Cebu City is closer to the Capitol.
He believes his batch is the most active and united SK organization in Cebu.
Asked if he has plans to seek a career in politics, Caminero (whose father Wilfredo went from the PB to the House of Representatives in the May 2013 elections) said he’ll finish his studies first.
“Agad ra ko sa mga tawo (I’ll take my cue from the people),” he said, when pressed further about a possible future in politics.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 06, 2013.