Lacson-Sotto to the Youth: ‘Impose yourselves. Being young doesn’t mean knowing less’

Lacson-Sotto to the Youth: ‘Impose yourselves. Being young doesn’t mean knowing less’

By Ernie Reyes

BAGUIO CITY, Benguet — Although they belong to different generations, Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III believe that the hope and future of the Philippines rest on the abilities of the youth sector.

The Lacson-Sotto tandem met with the officials and members of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) here Friday (December 17) as guest keynote speakers during their recently concluded ‘Tumindig’ Youth Empowerment forum held at the Baguio Convention Center.

The young participants took the opportunity to receive leadership advice from the veteran lawmakers, especially on the aspects of preparing their plans and projects for the SK, which they have difficulty implementing due to lack of financial support from their local barangay officials.

As far as Lacson is concerned, he said youth councils have a five- or 10-percent share in the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of local governments disbursed through their barangay officers, which they can access so they would no longer fund community projects out of their own pockets.

Sotto advised the youth that should their village captains fail to provide their share of the IRA, they must bring it to the attention of their mayors, who have the power to enforce discipline among barangay officials that would fail to support them.

“Isumbong niyo. Kung matigas ang ulo, file-an niyo ng kaso. (Take it to your mayors. If they [barangay officers] remain obstinate, file a case against them.) Don’t be coy, don’t be timid… Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you know less, so impose yourselves,” Lacson added.

The SK members and officers shared their frustrations about staying active in their organizations as most of them were not getting honoraria for their services. This is on top of the challenges they encounter in preparing their budget proposals and other reportorial requirements.

Lacson underscored that investing in capacity building programs for the youth sector is necessary for any local government unit to be successful because it will develop the hearts and minds of the SK officers and help them become more efficient and well-rounded community leaders in the future.

“You know, whenever I’m told by some people that the youth sector can barely contribute to society, I would just always respond based on my perspective. If you say that the youth sector cannot contribute to society, it’s just like, you know, condemning a nation to a future of disillusionment and hopelessness,” the presidential aspirant said in his speech.

Quoting a famous adage from national hero Jose Rizal, who once said that “the youth is the hope of the future,” Lacson noted that the youth is the future themselves, whom he also regarded as “game changers” and “movers of democracy.”

“Especially in the advent of the incoming political exercise come May next year, you are the movers of democracy. You may not be aware of this but, you know, 52 percent of the registered voters in this country belong to the youth sector,” Lacson said.

The Partido Reporma standard-bearer offered many pieces of advice to the youth sector, among them is to exercise their voting rights in the upcoming 2022 synchronized national and local elections, which can steer their communities and the entire nation towards a better direction.

“Envision the kind of society that you would like to have and look for ways on how you can contribute to the achievement of such a vision. Realize that every decision you are making now, whether big or small, has an effect in society either directly or indirectly,” Lacson said.

“And then, do not be disheartened by the thought that others do not recognize your relevance in society. Sometimes it’s so frustrating, but we have to push through, we have to go on,” he told the SK officials and members further.

Lacson also advised the youth to be more discerning whenever they go on social media, where false information can spread like wildfire. “Make sure to verify facts first,” he told them, so they would not be contributing to the problem of fake news on social media.

“Most importantly, exercise your right to vote. Be discerning and critical and be aware of the impact of your choice for the next three years in the case of local officials and six years in the case of national officials,” the veteran lawmaker emphasized.

Lacson and Sotto offered themselves as potential president and vice president of the country with “concrete, implementable and future-proof strategy, not only to make us survive from the health crisis that we have right now, but more importantly to thrive as a nation.” (ai/mtvn)

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