Neophyte bets vow better representation
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - February 12, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Streamlining the offices of the Cebu City Hall, creation of a Youth Code, and expansion of scholarship program are among the legislations that two neophyte bets are looking at once elected as Cebu City councilors this coming May 2019 elections.

During yesterday’s pilot episode of #KnowYourCandidate for the May 2019 elections of The FREEMAN, candidates for Cebu City Councilor in the south district – Rengelle Pelayo and lawyer Marie Velle Abella - presented some of their legislations they want to be implemented once elected.

“I think it will be for the benefit of the Cebuanos if you have balanced representation in the Council. When we put people as representatives in the council that come from different background, we can be assured nga each sector naay tingog sa Council,” Pelayo said.

Pelayo was the former president of Sangguniang Kabataan Federation from 2007 to 2010.

While Abella has been in public service for 12 years, having worked with the Office of the Mayor to the City Legal Office to the Human Resource Development Office.

As for Pelayo, she said she wants to pass an ordinance that will establish and create the youth code, since the children’s code has been approved when she sat as ex-officio member of the City Council few years back.

Aside from establishing the code, she said a comprehensive profiling of the youths in the barangay level will be needed to ensure that legislations that will be passed are responsive to the needs of the youths.

Abella, for her part, said she wants to pass an ordinance that would streamline the offices of Cebu City hall, saying there are certain positions in an office that are no longer needed and relevant.

Another legislation that she wants to pass is the expansion of the scholarship program.

As of now, Abella said there are former scholars of the city that talked to her and expressed interest to go back to school but are prohibited to do so because of the restriction in the existing ordinance.

Abella said these students did not stop going to school because they want to but because they do not have enough money to sustain their projects and other miscellaneous expenses.

If given a chance and if budget allocation is there, she would have wanted to increase the P10,000 scholarship grant to cover the tuition fee for the whole semester.

Abella also wants to ensure that these students will have guaranteed jobs after graduating by asking business establishments to allocate at least 20 percent of their personnel to hire fresh graduates that are scholars of the city government.

As both claim to be neophyte politicians, Abella and Pelayo vowed to vote for legislations that would benefit the public even if these measures are proposed by other political party.

As for the issue on lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility, both Abella and Pelayo disagreed that it will resolve the deeply-rooted problem on illegal drug trade.

Abella, a child advocate, said the lowering of the criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 12 years old is a measure that would exploit the vulnerability of the children.

“It will not address the issue. Most of these children are misguided. 15 years old is still the ideal,” she said, adding that majority of the local government units do not have appropriate facilities for the rehabilitation and diversion programs of these young offenders.

Abella said the government should strictly enforce the curfew of 15 years old and below.

Pelayo said the amendment of the law will just invite the drug syndicates to look for younger children to ensure that they will not be jailed.

Instead of passing this measure, Pelayo urged the national lawmakers to look for other means in addressing the problem.

“This is an easy way for the perpetrators to circumvent the law,” she said, adding that the law enforcers should go after the drug syndicates rather than the children who are just influenced by the people around them.

Abella and Pelayo agreed that all stakeholders have their own share in addressing the illegal drug trade especially the family, community, law enforcers, and the government. (FREEMAN)

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