Invited resource speakers shed light on the concerns and best practices of the SKs. Included were OIC Director John Aries Macaspac of the Local Government and Regional Coordination Bureau of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Mr. Melancio Santella, the Division Chief of the Regional Youth Development Division, National Youth Commission (NYC), Mr. John Carlo Borja, the SK Barangay Chairperson of Barangay Calumpang, Binongonan Rizal, and Ms. Doelcarmen “Star” Dizon, the SK Federation Vice President and SK Barangay Chairperson of Barangay Tinajeros, Malabon, City.
OIC Dir. John Aries Macaspac, DBM
OIC Dir. Macaspac explained the SK’s budget realignment and augmentation for their programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) related to COVID-19 in accordance with the guidelines under the Local Budget Circular No. 124.
The latter aims to guide the local government units (LGUs) in implementing changes in their respective annual budgets for COVID-19 response.
OIC Dir. Macaspac clarified that the SK Chairperson is authorized to use savings and augment items in the approved annual budget through a resolution since the SK does not have the legislative power to enact an ordinance.
In line with this, OIC Dir. Macaspac reminded the members of the SK to strictly comply to the laws and policies including Republic Act No. 10742 stating that the PPAs of the SKs should be clearly defined and complementary to the functions on the different levels of the LGUs.
OIC Dir. Macaspac reiterated the importance of the Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Plan (CBYDP) and Annual Barangay Youth Investment Program (ABYIP) to utilize SK funds.
He emphasized that the SKs should be abreast with the issuances of NYC and policies of the DILG and DBM when it comes to the preparation of the mentioned documents.
In conclusion, OIC Dir. Macaspac mentioned that the SKs have a big responsibility. The total budget of the SKs comprises the 10% of the budget of the barangays, which is a big amount when summed.
He advised the SKs to be careful in handling funds and reiterated that assistance will be provided should the SKs need technical assistance or support.
SK Chairperson John Carlo Borja, Brgy. Calumpang, Binangonan Rizal
SK Chairperson Borja shared the best practices in their Barangay during the pandemic. He highlighted the Operation BayaniKabataan composed of various PPAs dedicated for COVID-19 response.
PPAs identified were Kaligtasan Kits, Oplan protekTODA, Wash Up, Kids Initiative, Lamang Ang May Alam, the Saludo sa Frontliners, Be My Baby Campaign, and Larong Kwarantin.
SK Chairperson Borja shared that they are planning to conduct more PPAs and one of which is the Young House Heroes Initiative program. In partnership with the Positive Youth Development Network, this program will focus on the mental health of the children and youth.
Additionally, the Barangayan Para sa Bawat Bata ay Bumabasa program will be executed in partnership with the Calumpang Elementary School to mobilize the youth volunteers in house-to-house teaching and reading with a goal to improve the literacy skills of the students.
SK Chairperson Borja shared that the SKs are challenged also in terms of the restriction in the movement of goods and supplies, unavailability of data or information, digital divide and less physical engagement. He also acknowledged mental health issues and concerns.
Despite of this, he encouraged everyone to share their best practices to other SKs. He also emphasized the importance of partnerships and linkages.
“It is now the time to involve the youth and we must contribute to make positive changes in the community”, he added.
SK Chairperson Doelcarmen “Star” Dizon, Brgy. Tinajeros, Malabon City
SK Chairperson Dizon introduced the Project Green Grass, an online community map that can help the LGUs in monitoring street activities by counting the number of people in areas using CCTV cameras and Artificial Intelligence-based analytics.
She furthered that this technology determines areas where social distancing is not practiced and identifies those who violates curfew hours. Most importantly, it helps in building a secured environment.
Aside from this, SK Chaireperson Dizon also shared the Curiociti mobile application which gives real-time information of the number of people in a community. Users are permitted to take photos as evidence in crowded places and report it to the concerned authority.
Div. Chief Melanio Santella, NYC
Div. Chief Santella presented NYC’s initiatives during the pandemic including the issuance of memorandum circulars, social media postings, NCR SK ronda patrol, and distribution of relief goods to frontliners.
Moreover, he highlighted that the significant role of SKs is championing the youth agenda. He said that the DBM, DILG, and NYC can work together and assist the SKs in their needs.
Div. Chief Santella inspired the SKs to be part of the solution in their own little ways emphasizing that they just need to comply with the directives of the government and influence their fellow youth to follow as well.