She generously showed one of their special projects called the Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Cage which is publicly accessible to anyone who wants to dispose of their respective used plastic bottles.
“This project serves as a container where people can place used plastic bottles. All the collected materials will be sold to the local junk shops and the money we raise from the transactions enable us to buy rice grain for the local youth,” Barangay Baclaran SK chairwoman Garcia explained.
Visually the Eco-Friendly is a cage with a creative, fun-oriented touch. On top of the cage is a makeshift basketball board with a small rim that is supposed to encourage people to shoot their plastic bottles and watch it fall into the cage. This is the meaning behind the line “Shoot for a Change” written on the board.
One clear advantage of the Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Cage is that it can compel people to refrain from throwing their plastic bottles into other trash containers (which contain other forms of waste like paper, plastic bags, etc.).
This is why if ever you (with your plastic bottle at hand) pass by one of those Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Cages of the Baclaran SK during your next trip in Barangay Baclaran, take time out to put your plastic bottle into the cage.
Speaking of being eco-friendly, the Barangay Baclaran SK has been active with not only protecting the natural environment but also with participating in clean-up drive activities.
For more information, visit the Barangay Baclaran SK’s FB page here.
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“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.
Recently at the developing community of Masville in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City, a 21-year-old man died by suicide by hanging himself to death in a residence. The reason? Because he broke up with his girlfriend.
To put things in perspective, Tumang stated that the age definition of youth under the Reformed SK system is 15 to 30-years-old. The guy who took his life is therefore identified as a youth and was already working. On July 20, Tumang attended the man’s funeral at his family residence and the experience reminds her that the SK has a responsibility to ensure that youth suicides would be prevented.
“We had one project with Kagawad Rocel Espino who handled the barangay committee on education which includes youth. The project she created was the youth camp and it was organized at a local school,” Tumang said. “Many young people attended and they shared problems and concerns. We at the SK will adapt that kind of project.”
In preparation for the planned youth camp, the BFSK chairperson and the kagawads will have to do some research as well as make presentations in seminars. A youth orientation activity done by Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Espino was held recently which educated many youth participants. This, of course, sets a model of guidance for the BFSK as part of their preparation for the planned youth camp which, as of this writing, still has no date nor a venue finalized.
“We also have the mental health awareness counseling program planned at the SK. Right now we are still discussing as to when we could organize it,” Tumang stated. “I really want to organize the mental health awareness program and youth camp soon as I learned many helpful lessons from a seminar at Paranaque City Hall.”
The said seminar was about mental health awareness and by participating in it, Tumang said she realized the many factors that contribute to suicide such as depression, insecurity, uncertainty and the like. Even words can hurt a person and even cause him or her to get depressed.
“That was a very engaging seminar the discussions were very in-depth. I learned so much from it and I believe we can really help the local youth,” she said.
Tumang added that Kagawad Espino taught her that youth struggle as they grow up and get educated. The struggles include being unable to open up and speak out about their concerns, being fearful about others judging them, and the like. There are also those who are a lot more vulnerable or more sensitive than meets the eye.
“Because words can be painful, some jokes cracked at youth hurt them very deep inside reaching to the point of cracking under social pressure, becoming stressed or, even worse, they begin to think about suicide,” Tumang said.
To put suicide in perspective, it was reported in Business Mirror that in the year 2012, a total of 2,550 cases of suicides (all ages) in the Philippines were registered according to Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle.
The BFSK chairperson plans to have the youth camp (and hopefully the mental health awareness counseling program) push through sometime this September. However pulling it off remains challenging due to budgeting, the time management of activities and getting valuable resources.
The Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes is reaching out to generous members of the public who wish to donate to them (cash or in kind) for the purpose of organizing the youth camp and its campaign to prevent youth from dying by suicide.
To inquire or give something, communicate directly with BFSK Chairperson Mariel Tumang at Barangay BF Homes hall along Elsie Gatches street in Parañaque City.
UPDATE! (September 3, 2019)
The Barangay BF Homes Youth Camp is indeed coming and already efforts are being made on preparing it. This was announced by Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino during the Youth Forum held at the Phase 1 Gym along Pilar Banzon street in BF Homes subdivision on August 31.
As announced by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) during its July 14 general meeting, the much-awaited Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 (Youth Week 2019)will commence on August 17 mainly at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City.
Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 is a whole day event filled with multiple activities organized by the BFSK (led by its chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang) which has already invited youths of local communities aged 15 to 30-years-old.
1) Palarong Pinoy (games) – A variety of games will be held. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shirts, leggings, pants, jogging pants and sport shoes. Prohibited is the wearing of shorts and slippers. Going beyond the games, there will be a program and other related activities that will happen until the evening. Participants are reminded that sportsmanship is a key value of taking part here.
2) Malayang Taludturan/Tula-Salitaan (Spoken Word Poetry) – As part of the BFSK’s celebration of the Buwan ng Wika, there will be literary contests happening and the use of Filipino or Tagalog as language is essential. Poems written in Tagalog should be originally composed by the participants.
3) Trashionista – a competition that encourages creativity with a strong sense of taking care of the environment by means of using recycles materials. This is a challenge to make gowns composed of fully recycled materials and participants must ensure that the gowns can actually be worn. There is a requirement for presenters of the gown to be a member of the LGBTQA+. Each presentation will be judged by authenticity, creativity, originality, effort and audience impact.
All youths residing in Barangay BF Homes are highly encouraged to participate.
“We are hoping that youths can gain something and enjoy in all the activities that we will be giving them on the event. We would love to see them smiling and enjoying while participating in the Linggo ng Kabataan,” Barangay BF Homes SK chairperson Mariel Tumang said. “They could enhance their skills especially in the Contests that we’ve prepared. They can showcase their talents, build up their confidence and especially develop sportmanship and learn how to socialize with their fellow youths.“
The Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 in Barangay BF Homes is being prepared by the BFSK led by Tumang with the full support of their SK council members (SK kagawads) Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre and Stephanie Sebullen plus BFSK Secretary Darrenz Fabros and BFSK Treasurer Jefferson Ching. Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez, who previously served as an official and leader of the BFSK, naturally supports the Linggo ng Kabataan 2019.
For inquiries, visit the BFSK’s official FB page here or visit Barangay BF Homes hall along Elsie Gatches street.
To read my exclusive interview with BFSK chairperson Mariel Tumang, click here.
In front of many youth from varied communities of Barangay BF Homes, Tumang and the SK kagawads took turns explaining the details from their report.
For the first half of 2019, the BFSK noted its involvement during the Aliwan Festival at Masville National High School, the Parañaque Cityhood Anniversary celebration (by means of being involved with the Gandang Mamita, Binibining Parañaque, and Sunduan Dolls presentations at SM City BF Parañaque), fun run participation, the awarding of the Nestle Wellness Nationwide Competition to Fourth Estate Elementary School for its 3rd place finish, assisting in the concert-for-a-cause for an infant who needed assistance, and the Waste Wise for Rice activities to name some.
For the near future, the BFSK announced that the Linggo ng Kabataan will be held on August 17 for a whole day complete with sports events, the Trashionista (a challenge to make gowns composed of fully recycled materials), the Spoken Word Poetry (to be done in Tagalog) and some seminars that will tackle different topics that are meant to be educational. On the side, BFSK chairperson Tumang confirmed to me that the Linggo ng Kabataan is their biggest event of the year planned.
“Since the reformed Sangguniang Kabataan system started only last year, there are still some elements that are lacking such as guidelines for the disbursement of funds. We also have to work as a separate entity from the barangay,” Tumang said during the presentation. “Since me and our kagawads are the first to be part of the reformed system, we are literally the experiments. It’s really hard for us to function and the accomplishments we have so far could have been a lot more. Still, despite the challenges, we are working hard to be able to implement more activities and projects to serve you.”
Tumang also appealed to the youth to support them so that more can be done.
Shortly after, Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez appeared and greeted everyone. Marquez himself led the SK of the barangay during the days of the old system and he clearly knows how the youth can do its part in helping the barangay achieve its goals on serving the constituents.
“Our SK so far has been doing things nicely and I congratulate them,” Marquez said attracting an applause. “Our barangay strongly supports the SK as it strives to realize its planned activities and projects.”
If you are interested with the BFSK or Barangay BF Homes, visit them at barangay hall along Elsie Gatches street.
Also, if you have time, ready my exclusive interview of BFSK chairperson Mariel Tumang here.
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.”