Friday August 17, 2018

City dangles scholarship, cash to new SK officials

Young leaders. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña swears in the newly elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials at the Cebu Institute of Technology -University. (SunStar Photo/Amper Campaña)

A CASH honorarium and scholarship grant await the 640 newly elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials in Cebu City.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña made the pronouncement yesterday in his speech during the mass oathtaking ceremony he administered at the Cebu Institute of Technology-University.

“You have to earn it. The moment you don’t earn it, we cut it because what you will be doing, you will be compensated. Give me one more year and I will work out a scholarship program for all of you. I want our future leaders to be educated,” he said.

The mayor, in an interview, clarified that the plan to grant a scholarship and cash honorarium for the SK officials is still on its initial stage.

He said this will still have to go through the City Council for review and approval.

“It (scholarship, honorarium) will depend on their ability because we want to develop a new breed of leaders. They have to earn it, I made that very clear. It’s not a pension. We will give them assignments like sports activity, garbage monitoring. They have to organize themselves,” Osmeña said.

Sought for comment, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said that the granting of scholarship and cash honorarium may not be considered a vote buying method since the barangay and SK elections elections are over.

He said he has no qualms about the plan, provided that it does not violate the rules of the Commission on Audit (COA).

“I have no objection, but let us also look into the COA rules first to check if it is allowed. If allowed by COA rules, okay ra. It’s not vote-buying because the plan for the grant was not made in consideration of one candidate. I do not think this is vote-buying,” he said.

Labella asked politicians, though, to give the elected SK officials the freedom to choose leaders among themselves.

“Politicians like us should not influence and give this privilege to them. There’s always the presumption that the SK and barangay elections are non-partisan. Let’s not lift a finger. Let’s give them that privilege,” he told reporters.

According to Department of Interior and Local Government Cebu City officer-in-charge Emma Joyevelyn Calvo, the mass oathtaking yesterday is mandated under Republic Act (RA) 10742, otherwise known as the SK Reform Law of 2016.

Fifteen days from now, Calvo said that the SK chairpersons in all 80 barangays in the city will be electing their president and board members.

The presidents of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and the SK Federation will both sit as ex-officio members of the City Council.

Unofficial reports from the City Youth Development Office revealed that 41 elected SK officials are allied with BOPK, while 39 are identified with the opposition.

Meanwhile, SK officials in the different parts of Cebu underwent mandatory training starting yesterday in preparation for their assumption of office on July 1.

Participants are the newly elected SK officials from Cebu City, Barili, Aloguinsan, Balamban, Toledo City, Consolacion and Alegria, said Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7 Director Rene Burdeos.

Burdeos said the trainings are mandated under RA 10742.

The trainings will focus on educating SK leaders on nationalism, youth development, planning and budgeting, and local legislation, among others. (RTF with JKV)