“We have complied with all the requirements needed. These include the opening of bank account, doing the fidelity bonding, making the three-year plan, the annual investment plan, and the annual budget for 2019,” BFSK chairperson Tumang said. “We now have our independence using the SK funds. Already we have started disbursing the SK budget since this past August.”
The BFSK head added that, right now, they are waiting for the mandatory training that the DILG and the NYC are supposed to organize. The training is designed to provide guidance to all SK units about utilizing the SK funds properly and in accordance to existing laws.
As Tumang told me previously, more projects and activities will be organized by the BFSK in the near future now that they have achieve independence from the barangay and now have access to the SK funds.
Speaking of activities in Barangay BF Homes in Parañaque City, there will be a seminar on pregnancy and HIV/AIDS on September 28 and the 3rd quarter Waste-for-Rice activity on September 29. Tumang announced these on September 14.
The technical stuff
In the order of the DILG, it was stated that JMC Number 1 (Series of 2019) provides guidelines on the appropriation, release, planning and budgeting process for the SK funds.
Jonathan E. Malaya, who serves as the Undersecretary and Spokesperson of the DILG, stated that pending the issuance of the Commission on Audit (COA)’s guidelines on SK financial transactions, the SK may start using their budgets “provided they comply with the requirements of the DBM-DILG-NYC Joint Memorandum Circular.”
“The development agenda for the youth sector cannot be further delayed. SK officials in every locality should now get the ball rolling so that they can already carry out projects that are meant to promote the interests and welfare of the youth,” Malaya said.
The spokesperson added that there is no need to wait for the COA guidelines because the commission has given the SK the green light to use their funds in accordance to JMC Number 1 which in itself details the procedures on how they can disburse their respective budgets.
In order for SK funds to be disbursed, a current bank account under the name of the SK must be opened (by the SK chairperson specifically) in a government-owned bank, apply for fidelity bonding (with the SK chairperson and the SK treasurer as the accountable officials), and a 3-year rolling plan called the Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Plan (CBYDP) must be formulated.
Beyond these, SK officials are required to undergo training programs conducted by the DILG, NYC, and the authorized training providers in accordance with DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2018-48, as well as continuing training programs on the Government Procurement Reform Act, Manual on Financial Transactions of the SK, the proper utilization of SK fund, the accounting and auditing rules and regulations and any other relevant trainings which will help them carry out their functions effectively and efficiently.
When it comes to the funding, 10% of the general fund of barangays shall be set aside for the Sangguniang Kabataan which shall be appropriated in lump sum and distributed solely for youth development and empowerment purposes in accordance to the SK Reform Act.
The law further states that the SK shall have financial independence in its operations, disbursements and encashment of their fund, income and expenditures.
Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Chairperson Mariel Tumang
For much of the day on June 30, 2019, the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes (BFSK) led by its chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang visited different developing communities of Barangay BF Homes in Parañaque City and implemented their special project called Waste Wise for Rice.
The project emphasized the trading in of Eco Bricks for kilograms of rice grain. According to chairperson Tumang, local community residents each hand over to them the Eco Brick(s) (plastic bottle containing wrappings of snack products) and in return the SK gives out a kilogram of rice grain. Tumang and her kagawads (youth councilors) Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre, Stephanie Sebullen worked hard that day.
According to the Facebook page of the BFSK, the SK collected 900 Eco Bricks and they released over 900 kilograms of rice grain. The SK emphasized that their June 30 project was environment-friendly and a good provider of food for the residents. Here in the Philippines, rice is staple food.
Before that special project happened, I got to interview BFSK chairperson Tumang (who is also the Vice President of the Parañaque SK Federation) and here is my exclusive feature of her for you all.
Who is Mariel Tumang?
Mariel Angela Tumang was born in the late 1990s. She recently graduated at the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA with a BS in Accountancy. Her entry into the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes came at a time when the SK got reformed. In short, she and her fellow councilors are pioneers for Barangay BF Homes under the new SK system.
To put things in perspective, the SK or youth council was a decades-old system in Philippine society that, from its 1975 beginning, developed a poor reputation. Critics called the SK a system that politicizes young people, a failure on implementing youth development programs, a breeding ground for corruption and the like. People who don’t believe in the SK stressed that young people are not ready for early public service and that they are better off focusing on their academics. Also it did not help under the original SK system that youth leaders who were not even of legal age (below 18) got to sign contracts between their council and other organizations.
In early 2016, Congress approved Republic Act Number 10742 which was called the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law. It saw some notable changes like raising the age of the council to 18-24 years-old (versus the previous 15-17) and implementing an anti-political dynasty rule.
This brings me back to Tumang and her kagawads.
In the summer of 2018, a team of youth candidates under the umbrella of former Barangay BF Homes chairperson Florencia “Beng” Amurao was formed and Tumang was the candidate for BFSK chairperson. As it was the first SK election in some years, as well as the first-ever election under the reformed SK system, there was hesitation along the way for Tumang.
“Actually, I did not want to join the election because for me, politics is dirty,” Tumang said. “My friends inspired me especially Tita Beng (Amurao). My mother worked for her previously. Tita Beng said she wanted me to be her group’s candidate for SK chairperson and I said that I was still studying and was unsure about the idea of running in the election. After some more talk, I got inspired a lot and decided to run.”
When I asked her if she had thought about uplifting the status of young people of the many communities of Barangay BF Homes as part of her decision to run, she confirmed that it was indeed her intention all along. She also had insight.
“Before entering the SK, I was a student leader and during my days at Masville National High School I was the SSG president. I also received an award for leadership of students when I graduated high school. I was also a Girl Scout and along the way we got trained with leadership skills and values. A lot of my friends told me I have leadership skills,” she said.
In the reformed SK election for Barangay BF Homes, Tumang and her teammates under the Team Amurao banner ran against their counterparts from the group of then Kagawad Paolo Marquez. As the competition between the two teams was intense, the campaigning was, unsurprisingly, very challenging.
“It was really hard for me personally for I was not really an outgoing person. I spent my time mostly at school and at home. We were somewhat known in Masville but not that much in other communities of the barangay,” Tumang recalled. “At the same time, I took summer classes along the way which was a requirement at school. I had to skip some classes just to campaign. When I was able to attend to both (campaign and class), there were days we went house-to-house campaigning in the morning, then I go school in the after and attend campaign meetings in the evening.”
All the pain, the lack of sleep and hard efforts to win the voters’ trust ultimately paid off for Tumang as she defeated her election rival Aira Besana (Team Marquez) for the BFSK chairperson post gathering a total 2,672 votes. The seven SK kagawad posts were split between Team Amurao and Team Marquez candidates.
“I was so glad and I cried when I learned that I won the SK chairperson position. My friends and family really supported me during the COMELEC counting of the votes. It was a nerve-wrecking experience and many of us, including my teammates, stayed at the Phase 1 gym for a very long time without any sleep,” she recalled.
Since taking office as chairperson of the Barangay BF Homes youth council on June 30, 2018, she and her councilors organized several projects and activities on developing youth of the local communities despite the fact that they lacked funds. Along the way, she and her councilors participated in some seminars and out-of-town activities related to youth development and leadership development. Of course, leading the BFSK made life more challenging for her since she was still finishing her studies.
“It’s really difficult,” Tumang remarked on balancing her personal life with academics and SK duty. “There were times I really cried because I could not manage my time. When we started, we lacked direction on what to do so I asked my mother for guidance since she served as a staffer of the barangay before.”
Tumang added that being a student and an elected youth leader forced her to make hard decisions when barangay matters conflicted with her academics. While missing out on class was costly, being absent from a youth council meeting or session would mean getting left behind on the latest developments.
On the aspect of legislation, Tumang serves as the presiding officer of the youth council. She coordinates with the SK secretary over the agenda for each session which is held only once a month. Already some resolutions have been approved by the BFSK most notably their budget which is in the millions of pesos.
As the reformed SK was so new, Tumang and her kagawads started without a real budget at all and had to depend on the barangay’s youth development fund. Along the way, they had to make hard adjustments by learning the processes, learning how to do proper reports, practice of ethics, and more.
As of this year, the BFSK is inching closer to completing the system for the receiving and releasing of funds that are needed to realize their youth development projects. Tumang and her team had visited the banks, coordinated with the barangay and secure several requirements. They were delayed somewhat because of an election ban related to the May 2019 national and local elections.
While there were lots of hassles and challenges, Tumang still is focused on serving the youth of Barangay BF Homes and with what the BFSK has achieved so far. She and her kagawads are striving to do much more to make progressive and positive impact on developing the local youth.
“The feeling is so pleasant whenever I see someone smile as a result of the projects we at the SK have accomplished,” she said with a smile.
Message to the Readers
“I wish to share to you all that the Sangguniang Kabataan is really a good thing because we can talk to youth who are naturally hesitant to communicate with older people or share their concerns. Young people are always struggling with some sort of personal or social problems of their own as they grow up. From peer pressure, to insecurity, mental problems and suicidal thoughts, the youth are struggling and they need help. We are willing to help them. Here in BF, we are very willing to help implement the very promising programs from Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez designed for the youth. Problematic youth are very welcome to visit barangay hall for assistance and we are very willing to provide it. The BFSK is caring and we aim to develop local youth socially, academically and morally. With seminars, outreach and enlightening group discussions already done, the reformed SK system is truly about nurturing youth and it is no longer limited to organizing sports events.”
In recent times the City Government of Las Piñas headed by its Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar has been making a lot of progress with modernizing public transportation within its jurisdiction by releasing to local tricycle drivers and operators electric tricycle (e-trike) units that they received from the Department of Energy (DOE).
The DOE donated 100 e-trikes to Las Piñas which in turn coordinated with the varied tricycle operators from the city’s twenty barangays. On April 5, 2019, the City Government’s Facebook page posted pictures of its most recent turnover of e-trikes to specific operators. Posted below is one of them.
Right below is a picture of electric tricycle units that I photographed during my visit at Las Piñas City Hall.
The future of local public transportation in the city is looking bright. Once these electric tricycles go into full operation, the following is expected to happen:
A more comfortable ride for passengers thanks to the new tricycle design. The e-trike is one whole unit (versus the motorcycle linked with a passenger-carrying unit of the old tricycle design).
Reduction on noise pollution because there is no fuel-based engine.
Reduction on air pollution because there is no fuel-based engine and no exhaust.
Complete avoidance on spending money on fuel which by the liter, as of this writing, is expensive. Recharging, not refueling, is the way for E-Trike operators to recover and keep operating the next day.
Think about it carefully. E-Trikes can bring passengers through the quiet villages more safely, quieter and without adding anymore air pollution that would affect families at their homes.
Now that the benefits of E-Trikes have been discussed, it’s time to take a close look as to how these positive developments in Las Piñas happened in the first place.
The answer is City Ordinance Number 1536-18 (Series of 2018). and below is a summary of the details written on it.
Formally titled “An Ordinance Allowing The Operation of E-Trike in The City of Las Pinas and Providing Guideliness Thereto.”, with “E-Trike Ordinance” as the shorter title, City Ordinance Number 1536-18 (Series of 2018) was approved by the City Council and Mayor Aguilar on May 28, 2018. As written on the Ordinance, it was deemed that the adoption of the e-trike project is a necessary step in combating unreasonable high oil prices and ending dependency on oil. The E-Trike was viewed to be eco-friendly, noise-free and air pollution-free. It has the potential to generate higher income for operators and even create new jobs.
Section 2 of the Ordinance states: The City of Las Pinas fully supports the national government’s e-tricle project. It is also committed in enforcing the applicable provisions of the Clean Air Act and in addressing community concerns about high oil prices, pollution and health hazard as well as in providing new job opportunities.
Section 4 (E-trike Franchise Grant) legalizes the use of electric tricycles within the territorial jurisdiction of the city. For this purpose, one hundred units of three-wheeled electric power driven vehicle or e-trike shall be granted franchise by the City of Las Pinas through the Sangguniang Panglunsod.
Section 5 (Guidelines) states that no e-trike franchise shall be granted unless the unit utilizes environmental-friendly batteries as determined by the Environment and Natural Resources Office, has an on-board charger and is deemed roadworthy while also possessing the required safety features.
The individual applicant is an actual resident and registered voter of the city. The transport cooperative may be granted in its name up to five franchises subject to compliance with the qualification requirements of the drivers.
For E-Trike Rent-To-Own Program or variations thereof and/or meanwhile that the ownership of the unit is not yet fully transferred to the intended buyer, a provisional franchise may be granted in favor of the proponent. Provided, that the qualification requirements of the intended buyers or drivers of the vehicle are complied with.
Section 6 (Parts Availability) – the proponent shall make available within the city such parts as may be needed for the continued operation of the E-Trike.
Section 7 (Charging Stations) – charging stations shall be established in strategic public places in the city. For the total franchises herein fixed, no less than two charging stations shall be required of the proponents to establish. In this regard, not all contemplated franchises shall be issued by the Sangguniang Panglunsod unless the establishment of the charging stations is assured or completed.
Section 8 (Incentives) – Franchisees shall be granted a 50% discount on all fees applicable to trimobiles specifically the franchise fee, the annual supervision fee, the mayor’s permit fee, the legal research fee, the sticker fee and the police inspection fee.
If you wish to obtain copies of the Ordinance, visit City Hall.
With the E-Trike Ordinance in full force, Las Piñas City is clearly on its way forward with modernizing public transportation within its jurisdiction using electric tricycles which serve passengers traveling between the important city roads and the villages.
As far as South Metro Manila is concerned, Las Piñas has joined the electric vehicle bandwagon with Muntinlupa City (which has e-trikes and electric jeepneys already for years) for public transportation.
The City of Parañaque meanwhile remains behind. Last time I checked at Parañaque City Hall, they don’t even have a draft ordinance needed to legalize the use of electric vehicles for public transportation.
Speaking of Parañaque, I can’t forget the embarrassing failed launch of the electric tricycle project of the BF Federation of Homeowner Associations, Inc. (BFFHAI) of 2016. From the way things looked back then, BFFHAI failed to verify if Parañaque (which occupies a huge portion of BF Homes subdivision) had any ordinance legalizing the use of electric vehicles for public transportation. Back then, Las Piñas (which occupies another large portion of BF Homes subdivision) obviously did not have a similar ordinance.
Right now in South Metro Manila, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa are leading the way for public commuters with electric vehicles.
The love and care for the natural environment is often present in the minds of people who manage the city government. Really nobody wants to live in a city filled with scattered garbage, lots of air pollution and poor drainage.
An extension of the care for the environment is the focus on the use of electric vehicles which generate much less noise and much less air pollution. Here in the Southern portion of Metro Manila, the cities of Muntinlupa and Las Pinas respectively have laws that legitimized the use of electric vehicles for public transportation purposes.
This means that commuters can choose to ride a jeepney or a tricycle that runs on electric power whenever they are available in public. When they do ride an e-vehicle, there is much less noise and air pollution created by their ride. Potentially more e-vehicles replacing those gasoline/diesel-burning vehicles can bring down air pollution and improve the quality of air in the city.
Recently the Department of Energy (DOE) donated 150 electric tricycle units to the City of Muntinlupa and 100 electric tricycle units to the City of Las Pinas (which subsequently turned them over to local tricycle operators).
As for the nearby City of Parañaque……ZERO!
Considering the huge population of Parañaque and the City Government’s strong advocacy of environmental care and city cleanliness under the leadership of incumbent mayor Edwin Olivarez, it is weird that nothing has been done to legitimize the use of e-vehicles for public transportation.
I was at Parañaque City Hall on January 23 and during my visit I checked thoroughly with officials there to verify if there is any existing law (or city ordinance) that would make public transportation with electric vehicles happen.
As it turned out, officials confirmed to me that no such ordinance has been approved until now.
What is even more disturbing, as I kept on digging for answers, was the confirmation that there is not even a draft proposal submitted for legislation!
For as long as no city ordinance has been approved to legalize the use of e-vehicles for public transportation, Parañaque’s streets (including those inside villages) will be occupied by fossil fuel-guzzling jeepneys, buses and tricycles that are not only making the air dirty but also remain noisy and even unsafe and uncomfortable (due to outdated vehicular designs) for commuters to ride.
This also means that no village administrator can just establish and fully operate its own line of electric tricycles within the city. Back in 2016 in BF Homes, the BF Federation of Homeowner Associations, Inc. (BFFHAI) launched its line of electric tricycles with mayor Olivarez and vice mayor Rico Golez as special guests. Because they were in Parañaque (which has a huge jurisdiction of BF Homes subdivision) and there was no ordinance to legalize the use of electric vehicles for public transportation within the city, the BFFHAI’s e-trikes were not accepted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and they were not fully operated. As such, those electric tricycles got wasted and was limited to being parked at the side of the BF Homes clubhouse along Elsie Gatches street. Because pictures of those parked electric tricycles became public viewed, the federation quietly had them removed.
Until now Parañaque remains behind Muntinlupa and Las Pinas when it comes to using technology to improve public transportation and reducing air and noise pollution at the same time. For the past few years, Muntinlupa has electric jeepneys on public roads and some electric tricycles serving villagers. In Las Pinas, the number of electric tricycles serving local communities is slowly growing which is the result of their City Council and Mayor approving the “E-trike Ordinance” (City Ordinance Number 1536-18, Series of 2018) on May 28, 2018. Back to Parañaque, no legislation means no progressive change will happen.
It is notable that Parañaque lost its edge when it comes to city competitiveness nationwide. According to the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index 2018 released during the 6th Regional Competitiveness Summit, Parañaque ranked only #21. Even provincial cities like Bacolod and Naga are way ahead at numbers 9 and 10 respectively. With these mentioned, Parañaqu
After finding out the truth about the lack of a law for the public transportation use of e-vehicles in Parañaque, I walked out of the building and as I moved on further on City Hall grounds, I saw two electric tricycle units (made by Star 8) on display at an environment-oriented exhibit. I pictured the more elaborate e-trike (the one above).
Wow. Think about that. Electric tricycles on display in a city that does not even allow electric vehicles to be used to serve commuters publicly.
Before I forget, let me state that the City Government was celebrating the 18th anniversary of Republic Act Number 9003which is the national law on ecological solid waste management which itself emphasizes care and responsibility of the environment.
Now when will Parañaque’s officials start working to legitimize e-vehicles for public transportation? If you are a certified city resident who wants to see those fuel-burning public utility vehicles be replaced gradually with e-vehicles, consider taking time out to write letters to the city government officials. Even though there is an upcoming democratic exercise in the form of a local election on May 2019, communicating with your officials is still recommended.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format.