‘City needs young legislative leaders’
In the elections of 2025, there should be more young elected leaders at least at the city’s legislative body.
Leaders who possess the heart for genuine public service, dynamic, and uncompromising are the kind of leaders needed to transform the Philippines into a graft-free country, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said in the Adenauer Young Leaders Program organized by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Philippines on April 1.
Speaking before 60 fellows composed of elected officials, student leaders, and young development workers, Magalong said these qualities are mostly possessed by the youth, and which he believes that if there are more youth leaders, positive transformation in governance will be realized.
But rather than wait for the “future” until the youth of today are given opportunity to govern, Magalong said the time should be now. “I believe in young people. I see innovation, dynamism, courage. They have a different perspective. They want change.”
For Baguio, the mayor said he hopes that by 2025, 20 percent of the city council should be made up of youth leaders.
Currently, only Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president Levy Lloyd Orcales, who is in his early 30s, falls within the range of a youth leader at the city council. The rest of the members are in their mid-40s up to mid-60s.
Orcales, who was one of the speakers in the forum, said getting elected at such a young age is a tall order, especially when the electorate votes those who have a long history in politics.
In the 2022 elections, Orcales gunned for a regular post at the city council but lost. He said the thousands of likes and messages of support he got on social media did not translate to actual votes.
He said his experience mirrors the fact that while today’s youth are active on social media, getting them to move and actually practice those that they say online are different.
“Virtual engagement does not actually translate to actual participation,” Orcales said, pointing out that there are those who even engage in supposed “activism” but for profit or income and those who only follow trending topics on social media rather than actually researching about a topic to be better appraised of the situation and where they can form their own opinion.
While acknowledging that social media has become a powerful platform to make the voices of the public be heard, Orcales said the youth need more education on how to properly and responsibly use social media.
The same happens in Cambodia said Chhayheng Soth, programme officer of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Cambodia, to the point that often, too much discussion happens on social media based on incomplete information.
Similar to what the SK president of Baguio said, Chhayheng said educating the youth about the proper use of social media is necessary to have a meaningful and educated discourse on various topics.
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung develops programs that aims to strengthen democratization process in the Philippines, among which include the training of young leaders and young politicians. – Rimaliza A. Opiña