Cabaero: Confusion over youth federation elections

THERE is confusion swirling around the upcoming selection of youth federation leaders, and those sowing it should be ashamed for teaching the young tactics unrelated to public service.

Hopes for a new breed of youth leaders were raised after the implementation for the first time of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Act or Republic Act 10742 during the elections held last May 14.

The reformed SK law carried an anti-dynasty provision to correct past practices where the elected youth leader was a relative of the barangay captain or city mayor. The provision bars persons who are related “within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity” to any incumbent elected official in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected. It is the first such ban in the country, and elected youth leaders are expected to push for more reforms.

But even before they could assume office, they are exposed to practices of old politics that include muckraking, accusations of “fake news,” and getting wooed by political factions.

The confusion over the upcoming federation elections cannot be traced to any one person or political entity but the mixed-up messages are dampeners to one’s spirit and idealism.

Jess Anthony dela Cruz, Cebu City Youth Development Office head, denied last Friday a message that purportedly came from his office. The message said SK officials are invited to dinner Saturday at an expensive hotel to discuss Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) guidelines for them and their federations.

Dela Cruz’s denial, shared by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, said his office had nothing to do with that message and he urged SK officials to go instead to the DILG office yesterday, Monday, for the documents and orientation.

Osmeña has presented the idea of giving honorariums and scholarships to the new SK officials, while those in the opposition have reportedly been seeking meetings with the newly-elected leaders. Osmeña asked why the opposition is “harassing” SK chairpersons. Opposition Councilors Joel Garganera and Raymond Alvin Garcia denied they were “corrupting minors” as claimed by Osmeña, and they said it was Osmeña who dangled rewards to these young people.

Then, there was the claim of Garganera that the DILG in the city was requiring a fee for SK officials to join the training and elections. DILG Cebu City Director Emma Joyevelyn Calvo denied this and said the City Government has shouldered the P3,500 fee per SK head.

SK chairpersons in the city’s 80 barangays will choose on May 28 their federation head who will sit ex-officio in the City Council. Where the loyalties of this SK federation chair lie could sway votes or break an impasse on a City Council measure. The Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kausawagan and the opposition each have eight members in the Council.

The days leading to the federation elections are being marked by an exchange of accusations and the spread of wrong information meant to confuse SK officials, tactics that do not train them for their positions.


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