Today, hundreds of people went to the Satellite Registration processing organized by the Commission on Elections – Parañaque City office (COMELEC-PQUE) at Robinsons Townville (part of Pergola Mall) service of the residents of Barangay BF Homes who want to register themselves as voters as well as local voters who want to adjust their statuses.
To put things in perspective, no less than Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez confirmed to me that, indeed, the whole day process was requested by him and members of the Barangay Council which the COMELEC-PQUE agreed to. It is important to keep in mind that Barangay BF Homes is still the largest barangay in the city in terms of voters and it is easily the hot spot for mayoral and vice-mayoral candidates to campaign in when it comes to local elections. Barangay BF Homes is part of the city’s 2nd district.
In the morning, there already was a line of people before 8AM just outside the Elsie Gatches entry into Robinsons Supermarket BF Homes. Once opened, they entered and went up to the 2nd floor for the registration. The process was done in five steps: verification of valid IDs, recording/releasing of forms, interview for precinct assignment, capturing of biometrics and the thumb marking process (with the release of claim stub).
The way the situation is right now here in the Philippines, the next national and local elections won’t be held until May 2022. When it comes to the next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan, the next election is currently set for May 2020 although there is an ongoing effort in Congress to have it postponed to May 2023 (a response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s request during his 2019 State of the Nation Address).
Going back to the Satellite Registration for Barangay BF Homes, COMELEC-PQUE personnel confirmed to me that they will only accept up to five hundred people who apply to get registered formally as voters or, in the case of voters, have their statuses adjusted (including status reactivation for voters who failed to vote in successive elections).
As I noticed today, there were several teenagers who lined up to get registered. This was because the COMELEC-PQUE opened voter registration to youth aged 15 to 17-years-old, plus the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes (BFSK) invited youth from around the community to take advantage of the free service. This was confirmed to me by no less than BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang. I saw Tumang as well as BFSK Kagawads Irene Juanico and Stephanie Sebullen plus other barangay personnel help out. Free coffee was provided by the office of Parañaque City Councilor Wahoo Sotto.
There were a few curious shoppers who passed by and asked me what was going on. After I answered the question, they decided to try to get registered.
For more South Metro Manila and BF Homes developments, come back here soon.
“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.
Specifically, Senator Go presented Senate Bill Number 391 (SB 391) otherwise titled the Magna Carta for Barangays. He stated that there is a lack of regular salaries for barangay officials who have a lot of duties and responsibilities in their respective communities. This prompted him to make better compensation and benefits a reality for them.
If SB 391 ever gets approved, the head of the barangay (captain/chairperson), the barangay kagawads (the barangay council), the Sangguniang Kabataan head (SK chairperson), the barangay secretary and the barangay treasurer will be entitled to salaries, emoluments, allowances (example: transportation allowance), the 13th month pay and other benefits.
“It’s a relief to us in terms of benefits,” Barangay BF Homes captain Marquez said to me. “However, they first must look into amending the local government code in general since some important provisions are quite outdated already in terms of barangay administration and governance in general.”
For BFSK chairperson Mariel Tumang, Go’s move was good news not only for her but for many others in the barangay. Whether SB 391 will pass or not, she confirmed to me that she and the SK kagawads will focus on organizing and accomplishing projects and activities not only this year but also next year. Public service fulfillment is the priority for Tumang and the BFSK. In recent times, the BFSK organized the local Linggo ng Kabataan event as well as a seminar.
Going back to the Philippine Senate, SB 391 outlines the basic priorities in each barangay that include regular supply of clean/potable water, public transportation availability, barangay halls, etc.
If anything comes up regarding this development, it will be posted here.
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.
This development highlights one of the objectives under the Reformed SK System which is to make the SK unit financially independent from the Barangay unit. BFSK chairperson Mariel Tumang mentioned this during the July 14 general meeting at Barangay BF Homes hall. Tumang, by the way, is incumbent Vice President of the Parañaque SK Federation.
In relation to this development, Tumang clarified to me yesterday that the Barangay BF Homes SK accomplished the fidelity bond (an insurance of bondable public officer under the Fidelity Fund to assure faithful performance of all duties imposed by law and faithfully accounting all funds and public properties) as well as the opening of a bank account since July. Therefore the Parañaque SK Federation’s acknowledgement of the BFSK came rather late.
Apart from achieving independence on funding, the BFSK will have more freedom (when compared to depending on the Barangay’s own fund for your development) on creating new programs, projects and activities focused on the youth. Tumang confirmed to me that the total funds for their SK is estimated at P6.4 million and soon they will organize the upcoming Youth Camp before the year ends.
These recent developments don’t tell the complete story though. Tumang said there are still some things that need to be done.
The BFSK chairperson told me that she, the SK kagawads and other officers will have to undergo training from the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for guidelines.
Due to the bureaucracy and the fact that there are still some Sangguniang Kabataan units from other barangays of Parañaque who have not yet accomplished fidelity bonding, such training won’t start until everyone is ready. To put things in perspective, Parañaque has a total of sixteen barangays and each of them has its own SK unit.
For future updates on the youth of Barangay BF Homes, come back here soon.
If you are interested on BFSK-related articles, read my feature interview of SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero here, the BFSK’s campaign versus youth suicide here and my in-depth coverage of the BFSK’s Linggo ng Kabataan event here.
To others reading this, if you are dissatisfied with print media and you want your community/organization/business to be featured on this website, please contact me locally via mobile number 0905-3350831 or via email at Carlo.Carrasco@gmail.com
We can negotiate, work together and be achievers together.
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.”