On the afternoon of September 14 at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City, a seminar focused on the top of suicide awareness was organized by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) for fifty local youth (aged 15 to 30) who attended.
John Santos, who serves as the head of Information Technology (IT) at Paranaque City Hall, conducted a lecture about suicide awareness and engaged with the attendees directly. BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang and SK Kagawads Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre and Stephanie Sebullen were present to closely observe the lecture.
Early on, Santos mentioned factors that contribute to leading young people into thinking and even losing their lives by means of suicide such as peer pressure, broken hearts (due to the end of a romantic relationship with someone), confusion, fear, depression and the like. The resource speaker recalled during his youthful days when he had one friend who tried to take his own life but he ended up in the hospital due to a miscalculated attempt. That friend of his made a personal decision for suicide due to a heartbreak over an ended relationship and, as such, he did not go to his family for guidance.
“Real life incidents of suicide that happened from my past motivate me to speak out and help prevent youth suicide from happening,” Santos said.
Santos added that running away from the family and the community will not solve personal problems at all. He also advised attendees to be cautious when talking to troubled young people who are already leaning towards suicide as a final option of their lives. Even jokes or lighthearted words can push the troubled one to proceed with suicide.
With regards to the wide popularity of social media, Santos shared that he noticed that the youth are very expressive on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. At the same time, the vast amount of information, images and videos that the youth are exposed to make them vulnerable to being distracted and being influenced. Bad influence online can worsen the suicide situation.
“This seminar related to mental health awareness is our latest project in our effort to prevent youth suicide from happening as well as to keep suicide off the minds of our constituents,” BFSK chairperson Mariel Tumang said.
Before the seminar was conducted, the BFSK organized the Zumbarangay which was a series of physical exercise (with stretching) that include dancing to music. Pretty much the same people who exercised attended the seminar.
Before the Zumbarangay started, BFSK chairperson Tumang announced local events happening such as the Satellite Voters’ Registration process (to be done by COMELEC) on September 21 at the Pergola Mall, a seminar on pregnancy and HIV/AIDS on September 28 and the 3rd quarter Waste-for-Rice activity on September 29. Tumang announced that 400 kilograms of rice grain has been released throughout the local communities via the Waste-for-Rice project.
The Zumbarangay and the seminar were special projects of the BFSK supported by Barangay BF Homes captain Paolo Marquez.
For the entire day of August 31, over sixty youth from varied developing communities of Barangay BF Homes had fun, worked together and got educated during the Youth Forum (full title: Edukasyon Para sa Lahat – Kaeskwela Youth Forum) held at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City.
Under the watch of Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino (in-charge of the education committee), youth from Masville, Sampaloc and a few other developing communities formed seven groups and their respective members not only bonded but also learned new things. For fun, they took part in a series of games and contests.
In the afternoon, each group took on the challenge of getting their members together to discuss what issues they see affect the youth of their generation today, express what can be done to not only survive and progress, and express their suggestions on how the local authority – namely Barangay BF Homes – can help them through service.
During her address to the youth, Kagawad Espino announced that the Barangay BF Homes Youth Camp is already being prepared and soon they will announce when and where exactly it will be held. Espino told me that the Youth Forum served as a prelude to the Youth Camp.
“Why are we doing these activities? We have objectives set. While we (the barangay) cannot always build the future for the youth, we can help the youth develop ways to prepare themselves for the future,” said the Kagawad during her address. “Local youth can learn a lot to move forward through the activities organized by the barangay.”
During the group presentation of the Youth Forum, common issues that affect youth include Internet addiction, social media obsession, drugs, avoiding or cutting classes, depression, obsession with video games and computer games, bullying, peer pressure, gender confusion due to LGBTQ propaganda, exposure to sensuality and the like.
As I watched the groups express themselves, I noticed how much of an impact social media had on the youth. Through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, young people of today are so exposed to lots of random forms of information or images, videos and sounds which are clearly distracting to them. Some youth participants admitted they had trouble resisting social media use while others said they experienced temptations while online.
Compared to what I witnessed more than twenty years ago (before social media was realized), the new issues that affected the youth was the rise of Internet access as well as the rise of computer and video games. Back in those old days, there were lots of concerns and complaints from parents/guardians stressing that digital games and Internet addiction made educating and nurturing their children harder. There was also a wave of concern that young people will become violent and obsessive with digital content.
Going back even further into the past – specifically just before Internet access became available here in the Philippines – sexual and mature or violent content shown in movie theaters, television and print media were the hot issues related to the development of young people.
By today’s standards, those old issues seem to pale in comparison to the wide and powerful influence social media has on the current generation of youth who now enjoy better access to Internet due to the availability of cheap smartphones and the numerous WiFi hot spots around the communities. Such a high number of opportunities to connect online means more exposure to videos, images, verbal expressions that could influence users and even impact their behavior. Even worse, there could be potential victims by hackers among these young users. Imagine yourself being the parent of these youth.
Going back to the Youth Forum, the event ended with a positive and promising note. I noticed several participants were already excited about the upcoming Youth Camp which could attract a potential five hundred participants. What Kagawad Espino told me was significant.
“Today’s event is very successful as it has been very challenging to reach out and convince these kids to decide to participate. It was also challenging to engage them and maintain their attention all throughout. Regardless, the fact that they attended until five o’clock proves the success,” Espino said. “This Youth Forum was the result of requests by the parents of these youth and this serves as a prelude to this year’s Youth Camp. We received feedback from parents who noticed that youth seem disturbed and they requested for another Youth Camp to be held.”
Supported by Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez, the August 31 Youth Forum was the latest youth-related achievement of Barangay BF Homes through the committee headed by Kagawad Espino. Prior to it, the Barangay BF Homes edition of the Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 celebration organized by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) became a major success attracting more than three hundred (300+) youth. Kagawad Espino congratulated the BFSK during her visit at the August 17 Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 event.
For updates regarding the youth activities and developments of Barangay BF Homes, come back here soon.
While waiting, you can read my exclusive interview with BFSK chairwoman Mariel Angela Tumang here, my exclusive scoop on BFSK’s campaign against youth suicide here and my exclusive interview of BFSK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero here.
Let me end this piece with this scripture from the Holy Bible.
The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
To be a youth engaged in public service aimed at the local community is not a joke. For starters, youth here in the Philippines have their academics to prioritize. They also have to spend time with their respective families and obey their parents. As if that was not had enough, youth public servants have to do a ton of research youon participating in the democratic exercise (note: running for office and convincing voters to trust them), the legislative procedures and actual participation in projects and events.
Those are just some of the things that Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK)Kagawad Jerry Dalmero went through. The 20-year-old has been serving in the SK (youth council in English) of what is the largest barangay in South Metro Manila since late June of 2018. He is in the same SK leadership with six other SK kagawads and SK chairperson Mariel Tumang.
This is my feature interview of him.
A guy named Jerry
Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero was born in 1999 in Masville which is a developing community within the said barangay in Parañaque City. He has yet to complete his academics. Apart from serving in the BFSK, he is also active as a coach in the Masville Elementary School Performing Arts Group where he teaches youth how to dance, sing, act and modeling.
Before even running for the BFSK, the Sangguniang Kabataan was reformed nationally through legislation in 2015. This made a series of changes on the SK system and as such the SK election (held per community nationwide) in May 2018 was the first of the reformed system. This makes Jerry Dalmero, his fellow SK kagawads and chairperson Tumang the pioneers of the reformed BFSK.
Dalmero ran in the May 2018 SK election of Barangay BF Homes as a member of the SK candidates team under the group of Barangay BF Homes captain Paolo Marquez. I asked him how he became a candidate in the first place.
“A teacher recommended me to ma’am Zeny Pascual who was working for Barangay BF Homes. I was asked if I were interested to run for a seat in the SK,” Dalmero recalled. “At first, I really did not want to run because I knew that politics is dirty. I also found disturbing the idea for running which requires a whole lot of resources such as funds, campaign materials, on-site campaigns and others. My teacher told me that my candidacy will be supported.”
Subsequently Dalmero agreed to run under the banner of Team Paolo Marquez in the 2018 election. To his surprise, he and his teammates received a whole of support, sponsors and other supporters.
During the campaign period in the summer of 2018, Dalmero and his teammates had to endure the challenges of physically campaigning around Barangay BF Homes which is known not only for its very high population but also for the high density of community population and vast physical locations.
“It was very hard for me to campaign. I really did not realize back then that Barangay BF Homes is very large and wide. We visited not only a lot of places but also the hard-to-reach spots where there turned out to be lots of residents. I had to learn a lot as the campaign went on. I even missed some meetings with my family,” he said.
Dalmero had to learn new ways in order to communicate effectively with the voters. His teammates also happen to be good looking and he even wondered if he was charismatic enough to attract the voters.
The election campaign engine of Team Paolo Marquez turned out to be efficient. Dalmero admitted that as he and his SK teammates struggled to reach out to voters, then candidate for Barangay captain Paolo Marquez took time out to convince voters to support their youth ticket. Marquez even raised the arm of Dalmero to the voters. Eventually Dalmero won.
Before winning, however, the stress and anxiety went really high as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) counted the votes of the SK election in May 2018. Dalmero and his teammates were at the Team Paolo Marquez campaign headquarters waiting for whatever updates would come in. As he was already exhausted from the campaigning and lack of sleep during the night of vote counting, he left to go home to rest. That was until something happened.
“I was on my way back home when I decided to ask someone for updates regarding the election results. Shortly after, I received an update that the counting was finished and that several of us had to go to the Phase 1 gym (along Pilar Banzon street) for the proclamation. As I was riding going to the venue, I was in tears as I was happy and felt very relieved to have won,” Dalmero recalled.
Even though he and others got proclaimed, Dalmero still could hardly believe his victory was real. He remembered that before even becoming a candidate with the team of Chairperson Paolo Marquez, a lot of youth were asked if they were interested to run. Considering the odds and challenges he went through, Dalmero’s victory was a hard-earned one.
As member of the BFSK, Dalmero handles the Committee on Culture and Tourism. The committee is in charge of organizing or sponsoring events dealing with culture and history, and engage the local youth to participate. Along the way, he served as judge in varied contests or special events in different schools within the barangay.
For the near future, Dalmero announced that his committee will organize pageants called Little Miss Barangay BF Homes and Miss Barangay BF Homes. The latter will serve as the basis for Barangay BF Homes on selecting candidates to represent them in the annual Binibining Parañaque pageant which is held each time the City Government of Parañaque organizes its Cityhood Anniversary events. The final venue and schedules of the two said events will be determined soon.
Also coming is a talent workshop to be organized by BFSK designed to train participants to sing and dance. Also part of it is a recital concert. The committee is also involved in the cleanliness and beautification efforts of the BFSK.
Message to the Readers
“I express my thanks to the readers of this website and I hope that youth, both online and in the real world, will become inspired to be more productive and more meaningful people for they are the future of our nation. That being said, the youth who do well will eventually inspire many other people.”
A Tremendously Successful 2019 Linggo ng Kabataan in Barangay BF Homes by the BFSK
As far as the Barangay BF HomesSangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) is concerned, August 17, 2019 will be remembered for a long time as their 2019 Linggo ng Kabataan event held at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City turned out to be tremendously successful in terms of youth turnout and participation.
According to BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang (read my exclusive feature interview of her here), the turnout was bigger than the two hundred and fifty youth they anticipated. For a whole day, youth from around Barangay BF Homes (Masville, Sampaloc Site 1 and 2, Clinic Site, and others) engaged in lots of activities such as parlor games, group performances, Tagalog literary contest, the Trashionista competition (models wearing gowns made out of recycled materials) and more.
“The turnout and participation of youth to our Linggo ng Kabataan event went beyond our expectations. We targeted around two hundred fifty youth but by the time our initial count ended, it reached at two hundred and ninety-four. Then even more joined in pushing the count beyond the three hundred mark,” Tumang confirmed. “We are surprised and very delighted with the better than expected turnout.”
Filled with happiness, Tumang declared their Linggo ng Kabataan event a very successful one and no less than Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino expressed her admiration for the event (see below).
It should be noted that Tumang and the SK Kagawads Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre and Stephanie Sebullen as well as their SK secretary Darrenz Fabros and SK treasurer Jefferson Ching worked long and hard on organizing the event from the decorations to the registration of youth and implementing the program of the day.
Engagement and Achievements
These youths posed for me.
Waiting for the registration to end and the program to start.
Youths about to start the Zumba activity.
Another batch of youths posed for me.
SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero watches along with a group of youths.
Along the way, the youth also engaged with each other through socializing when they had their meals and breaks. Early in the day, I found time to approach some young people to get their perspective about the activities.
“I’m excited mainly for the parlor games,” said 16-year-old Hazel.
“The Trashionista looks exciting. I’m really curious as to how our fellow youth will prove their creativity on making gowns using recycled materials,” said Maria, also aged 16.
Another youth (age 18) I interviewed named Mark revealed that the socializing aspect interests him the most as he has always been excited to meet youth from other areas of the barangay through the BFSK’s organizing of events for them.
The activities include Palarong Pinoy which was composed of a variety of parlor games participated by teams and these games really dominated the day which gave the participants a lot of fun and socializing along the way.
Trashionista was a fashion show and pageant-like activity highlighting dresses and accessories made out of recycled materials emphasizing creativity, recycling and usability. The Tagalog literary contest of poetry emphasized the use of spoken Tagalog along with the participant’s creativity and ability to express himself/herself.
By the evening, as the final activities took place, it was pretty clear that the youth were enjoying the action and themselves. The Tagalog poetry contest drew a lot of cheers from the youth-dominated audience and I noticed that many youth were still energetic and excited even at around 9PM.
“When we planned the poetry contest, we never anticipated that it would generate a lot of interest from the youth. After making the formal announcement and starting the search for candidates, the response from the youth wanting to join in was overwhelming,” SK kagawad Jerry Dalmero said during my interview with him.
Ultimately, the achievements of youth – both individual and by groups – were acknowledged and awarded accordingly. The achievers per category are as follows:
Tula (Spoken Poetry)
1st place – John Paul Albiola
2nd place – Gia Fortes
3rd place – Francis Francisco
1st place – Francis Francisco
2nd place – Charlon Salazar
3rd place – Julie Betania
4th place – Leonel Rosales
1st place – Team Gray
2nd place – Team Blue
3rd place – Team Orange
BFSK praised by Barangay Kagawad Espino
Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino, who leads the barangay committee on education, graced the Linggo ng Kabataan event and stated she was really happy to see a large turnout of youth participating.
“I congratulate our Sangguniang Kabataan council for organizing this special event for our community’s youth and I am impressed to see the high turnout we have,” Kagawad Espino said on the stage. “I am so delighted to see so many youth who are not only attending but also are eager to make themselves heard.”
During my chat with her, Espino revealed it was very hard to reach out to the community youth and even harder to convince them to participate to events or activities meant for them. There were times that activities meant for youth empowerment got organized but attracted very few youth participants.
Furthermore, Espino announced that a youth seminar will be held for the young people of Masville on August 31 at barangay hall. It will start from 8AM and last until 3PM. She also announced the “Proud to be Drug-Free” project with a school in Masville which will be a one-day event.
What is Linggo ng Kabataan?
For the newcomers and the readers from overseas reading this, Linggo ng Kabataan in English stands for Week of the Youth (or Youth Week for short). The celebration is not limited to the local community but in varied communities around the Philippines which have the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).
According to item letter A on Section 30 (Chapter VI) of Republic Act Number 10742 (Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015), every barangay, municipality, city and province shall conduct the annual Linggo ng Kabataan on the week where the 12th of August falls to coincide with the International Youth Day. The Sangguniang Kabataan, in the case of barangay, and the respective LYDC in cooperation with the Pederasyon ng mga Sangguniang Kabataan, in the case of municipality, city and province, shall take the lead in this observance.
Item letter B states: The observance of the Linggo ng Kabataan shall include the election of the counterparts of all local elective and appointive officials, as well as heads of national offices or agencies stationed or assigned in the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit, among in-school and community youth residing in the local government concerned from ages thirteen (13) to seventeen (17). During said week, they shall hold office as boy and girl officials and shall perform such duties *and conduct such activities as may be provided in the ordinance enacted pursuant to this Chapter.
The Linggo ng Kabataan event in Barangay BF Homes was a special project of the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan supported by Barangay chairman Paolo Marquez. Unsurprisingly, the tremendous success of the event drew praise from the youth participants and already there are many who are hoping for another edition of it to happen.
We’ll find out in twenty-twenty.
Finally, here are scriptures from the Holy Bible that youth and all of you, my readers, will find uplifting.
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in the word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4: 12 (NKJV)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, and will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus