Labella: Politicians must stay off youth affairs

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram May 17,2018 - 10:29 PM

POLITICIANS of the older generation must keep their hands off the affairs of the youth.

This was stressed by Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella a day after it was revealed that 41 of the elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials are allied with the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) bloc led by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

“Politicians like us should not influence the youth on who to choose as their federation’s representative. Let’s give that privilege to them,” said Labella.

On Wednesday, data obtained by Cebu Daily News from the Cebu City’s Local Youth Development Office revealed that 41 newly elected SK chairpersons are allies of BO-PK while 37 other winners are supporters of Barug Team Rama–PDP-Laban, to which Labella belongs.

The list, however, remains unofficial as of yesterday, Thursday.

The Cebu City’s Local Youth Development Office has not yet authorized members of the media to get a copy of the names of elected SK officials under BO-PK.

With BO-PK now holding the majority both in the barangay and SK, Osmeña was optimistic that his group would now secure the majority in the City Council since the federation presidents of the barangays captains, through the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), and the SK — who will each have a seat in the legislative body — would now likely be from BO-PK.

“It’s been a good week. Their babag (attempts to block) is getting harder to do,” Osmeña said in a post on his Facebook page yesterday.

But Labella was unfazed by the possible shift in the political tide within the council where he sits as the presiding officer.

“As I’ve said before, whether I belong to the minority or majority, I’ll continue to do my job,” he said.

Over 500 elected SK officials in Cebu City, both from Barug and BOPK, were set to join yesterday’s ceremonial mass oath-taking organized by the city’s Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at the Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U).

Joy Calvo, acting chief of DILG-Cebu City, said they also tentatively scheduled on May 29 the election of the president of the SK Federation in Cebu City who will represent them in Cebu City Council.

“But that’s still subject for change. Usually, the election takes place 15 days after the orientation. Unless there’s anything that will affect the schedule, we’re eyeing to have the elections this May 29,” said Calvo.

ABC is another matter

While Barug would not want to politicize the selection of the SK’s federation leader in Cebu City, it would be a different matter in the selection of the ABC president.

The group planned to endorse Tisa Barangay Captain-elect Philip Zafra, the city’s incumbent ABC president, to continue to head the ABC and represent the association in the City Council.

“He is the most logical (choice) because he is the incumbent and he has done very good for the barangays in Cebu City in his term as well as for the ABC,” Labella said.

Zafra, reached for comment, said that he was willing to accept the offer.

“And I’m grateful for the chance given by the party. I’m in for the challenge,” said Zafra in a phone interview.

Due to multiple postponements of the barangay polls, Zafra sat as the ABC-Cebu City president for five years, or since he was elected in 2013.

However, it would now be difficult for Barug to keep the ABC presidency since 49 of the 80 barangay chiefs elected in Cebu City were from BO-PK.

The number of BO-PK allied village chiefs however went down to 48 following yesterday’s untimely death of Barangay Duljo– Fatima Captain-elect Joel Ycong.

His death led Duljo–Fatima’s number one councilor-elect and outgoing captain, Elmer Abella, to reassume the post. Abella ran under Barug.

Numbers’ game

Labella said that while they would want to keep ABC president on their side, they would respect the barangay captains’ decision should they choose someone else.

“This is a numbers’ game. No matter what, but if the majority wants someone else, so we will abide with them,” explained Labella.

Franklin Ong, Kasambagan barangay captain-elect has been floated to be BO-PK’s choice for the post of ABC-Cebu City president.

Osmeña declined to confirm or deny these reports. Like Labella and Zafra, he said it would be up to the new set of barangay captains to elect their ABC leader.

However, he reiterated his intentions to have a BO-PK ally as the new ABC-Cebu City president as means to claim majority in the highly divided City Council, where both the BO-PK and Barug Team Rama-PDP Laban have equal number of councilors (8-8).

Labella breaks the tie in the council, in favor of his party Barug.

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TAGS: affairs, Labella, must, OFF, politicians, stay, youth

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