By Rosalie O. Abatayo |May 16,2018 - 11:10 PM

There could be more than just one new seat for the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) bloc in the Cebu City Council.

Aside from dominating the barangay elections, allies of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña also won most of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairmanship seats.

Based on the data of the Cebu City’s Local Youth Development Office, 41 newly-elected SK chairpersons are allies of BOPK while 37 other winners are supporters of Barug Team Rama – PDP-Laban.

Two other winners ran as independent candidates.

Local Youth Development Officer Jess Anthony Dela Cruz, however, said that the two independent candidates are contemplating to pledge their allegiance to BOPK.

One of them, Camille Bontuyan, the elected SK chair of Barangay Sirao, said she decided to join BOPK because of her desire to bring more projects to her constituents.

“Sa amo, 12 years mi nag antos sa youth nga wa gyud mi projects or activities sa youth. So mao to, tungod diay kay kontra partido. So, as SK chair sa Sirao, why not nga support na lang kung kinsa ang administration nga naglingkod for the benefit of the barangay’s youth,” said 21-year-old Bontuyan.
(In our village, we did not have any youth development project for 12 years now. I later learned it was because of conflicting political affiliation. So as the SK chair I thought of pledging my support to whoever is the incumbent so that my constituents will be benefited.)

Bontuyan said that other SK chairs should also cooperate with the present administration and forget their affiliations when they ran for office.

Beyond politics

“Total, di man ni about sa imong self. About man ni sa barangay ug sa youth. So selfless lang unta ba. Dili kay abi nga ang family kay adto laban sa pikas kay di na lang pod ta mo-cooperate,” said Bontuyan.
(This is not about yourself. This is about the youth and the barangay. Be selfless and stop being uncooperative with the administration just because your family is a supporter of the other party.)

Bontuyan’s decision to ally with the administration brought to 42 the SK chairpersons allied with BOPK.

Dela Cruz also reminded the youth leaders that they needed to undergo a series of mandatory training before they would be sworn into office.

Dela Cruz said that under the SK Reform Law of 2015, no SK official, including the councilors, will be allowed to assume position if they cannot attend the mandatory seminars.

The first mandatory seminar for SK chairpersons and councilors will be done today at the Cebu Institute of Technology University.

The training, which is organized by the local youth development office, will cover the basics of governance, planning and budgeting, Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials, and an Introductory course on Sangguniang Kabataan leadership.

Crucial votes

According to Dela Cruz, they were still deciding when to hold the election of the SK federation officers.

The elected president of the SK Federation will also be given a seat as an ex-officio member in the city council, just like the elected president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in the city.

With the BOPK allies dominating both the barangays and SK officials, the possibility that the new ABC and SK federation presidents will come from BOPK is a pleasing prospect for the administration councilors.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya, a BOPK ally whose resolution for an P18-billion joint venture project on Kawit Island was recently junked by the city council, said the victory of their allies in the barangay and SK polls was a much welcomed development for their bloc.

“It’s going to be much of an advantage for us. With that, the opposition will no longer be able to block all projects that the administration is lobbying,” said Gabuya.

Gabuya was referring to the decision of the City Council to reject the proposed joint venture agreement that the city government, through Cebu City Mayor Osmeña, would have entered with Universal Hotels and Restaurants Inc. (UHRI), the property development arm of the Gokongwei-led JG Summit, to develop the eight-hectare Kawit Island in the South Road Properties into a mix-use complex. The project is projected to cost P18 billion.

The city council, acting within party lines, tied at 8-8. However, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, a member of the opposition Barug Team PDP-Laban, broke the tie by voting in favor of rejecting the project.

Gabuya added that his plan to re-introduce the Kawit Island Joint Venture project with UHRI would have a better chance if they will regain the majority in the city council.

But opposition Councilor Joel Garganera said they were hopeful that despite being outnumbered in the barangay and SK elections, their candidates who won in last Monday’s twin polls would still triumph and win the SK Federation and ABC presidency seats.

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