Reforming the SK

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

MAYOR Mike Rama couldn’t have found a truer friend and more loyal ally than in his vice mayor, Edgar Labella.

Yesterday at the Walk and Talk breakfast hosted by Ben Sun, I teased Edgar about the front page photo in Sun.Star Cebu that showed him smilingly watching Mike, who was singing to an audience of ambassadors and other diplomats. “You looked like a star-struck fan watching ‘American Idol,’” I kidded Edgar.

That was very smart of the mayor, the vice mayor said, narrating how Mike completely disarmed the members of the diplomatic corps with his diplomatically unorthodox approach. All stiffness vanished, giving way to a more relaxed atmosphere, Edgar claimed.


Perhaps, it was because the mayor sang better than when I last heard him do “Kahit Isang Saglit” a couple of years ago. He didn’t hit the high notes then, prompting Rene Mercado, who was not yet the Metropolitan Cebu Waterworks District chairman then, to grudgingly agree that his “Agaw Mike” needed more practice.

That wouldn’t surprise me, Mike finally doing justice to a beautiful love song. Among the few things you couldn’t accuse him of is the lack of ambition and persistence. That is why he is where he is. If he could beat his erstwhile political patron, Tommy Osmeña, one-on-one, there’s no reason why he couldn’t scale the la-ti-dos.


Speaking of “Kahit Isang Saglit,” I knew only two singers who have mastered the song’s nuances, captured its message and soulfully re-told it. Now there’s only Martin Nievera left because Jerry Yntig will be singing to and with the angels.

The last time I saw JY was in December last year. He was called to the stage at the Rajah Park bar and he sang an old English love song. Above the din of clapping hands and the noise of inebriated men, I shouted for him to sing “Kahit Isang Saglit” and he obliged. He always did oblige his friends in more ways than one.

They’ll bury JY today. Now, I will have to make do with Nievera’s version on YouTube when I feel the urge to listen to “Kahit Isang Saglit.” You will be missed, JY.


In the inbox is an e-mail from Erwin Andaya, Gus Go’s and my favorite youth leader in the 2010 presidential elections. Erwin is now a member of the National Youth Commission and he was recently in Cebu to explain how reforms can be implemented to save the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

The NYC is spearheading the efforts to spare the SK from extinction by coming up with a proposed Local Youth Development and Empowerment act that was written principally by Erwin. Their proposal has been merged with the Liga ng Bayaning Kabataan (LBK) bill of Sen. Bam Aquino and the SK Reform bill of Sen. JV Ejercito. It is now called the Youth Development and Empowerment Act and is pending in the Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Sen. Bongbong Marcos.

Erwin expressed regret that he may not have been able to explain fully the various reforms being proposed in the merged proposals during his last trip to Cebu. He urged everyone, including the “young at heart” to support reforms in the SK. “We are the only country in the world that provides direct participation of the youth in local governance,” he said.
The SK has, of course, been a miserable failure in that regard but I’m willing to listen to Erwin and his friends on how they intend to address that.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 16, 2014.


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