“Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.”
Despite some nasty accusations against the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), I still believe that it is the best source of future leaders in the Philippines.
SK leaders who allowed themselves to be swallowed by the system of graft and corruption may have weak values and lousy parenting, but majority are still being guided even by a modicum of decency and honesty.
There are outstanding legislators, governors, mayors, cabinet secretaries and members of the judiciary who once served as SK chairs.
Many of these successful former SK chairs didn’t allow the glitter of money and gold to destroy the bright future waiting them when they are in the big league.
When they were serving their fellow youths in the local legislative offices, they didn’t enrich themselves; they refused to follow the footsteps of their corrupt adult counterparts even if access to public funds wasn’t toilsome.
When adult politicians “invest” heavily on SK leaders it is because they believe in their capacity to lead and govern; many of these adult politicians hanker for the SK leaders’ loyalty and adulation.
Adult politicians will move heaven and earth to gain the SK leaders’ trust and confidence. The earlier for this to happen in their term the better.
Like village chiefs, these SK leaders have wide and big followers in the barangays that they represent.
In other words, they can bring in voters for the adult politicians through sheer influence and leadership come election period.
They have strong and convincing powers over their parents and their friends’ and followers’ parents to swing allegiance for certain adult politicians when push comes to shove.
Adult politicians with ulterior motives will start to apply arm-twisting tactics and influence some unsuspecting SK leaders during the infant stage of their incumbency.
Once they are able to win the loyalty and admiration of these young leaders, the latter will become a potent force in the adult politicians’ political arsenal.
That’s why it is best for SK leaders to stay away from the malevolent clutches of some adult politicians and wrestle for their independence.
They shouldn’t allow these adult politicians to pull their strings; they shouldn’t let these adult politicians to strike fear in their hearts.
They should always think and remember that they owe their positions to their fellow SK leaders, not from manipulative adult politicians.
They are “old enough” to discern what is manipulation and what is a genuine cooperation vis-a-vis their adult superiors in public service.
The recent move of Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III to appoint defeated Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) federation presidential bet Marie Antoinette Gallos as Executive Assistant for Youth and Sports should not be viewed as an attempt to send a curt message to SK federation president Leila Luntao, who sits as an ex-officio member of the City Council.
It was not Gallos’ fault if she has Espinosa’s trust and confidence to promote the mayor’s programs and advocacy for the youths.
For reason she alone can explain, Luntao has not made a courtesy call to Espinosa since her election on May 29, 2018.
Some Ilonggos suspect that Luntao is a protege of Iloilo City lone district Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” P. Treñas and her alleged refusal to make a courtesy call to Espinosa may have something to do with her purported fear of being chastised by Treñas who had openly picked Luntao over her rivals during the SK federation election.
In fairness to Luntao, a intelligent and independent-minded young leader according to her supporters, she won the election because of her merits and qualifications, not because Treñas wanted to use her as a political tool when the graduating congressman seeks the mayoral post in May 2019./WDJ