Voters urge BSKE candidates to prioritize healthcare, environment


October 28, 2023 | 4:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino voters want to see healthcare and environmental projects, such as free medicines and sewerage clean-up, in the priorities of candidates running for the barangay and youth council elections.

Garry Concepcion, a person with disabilities (PWD), said Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) candidates must sustain and improve the provision of medicines and financial aid to PWD and senior citizens.

“Sa mga bitamina ng mga matatanda, financial assistance at number one priority ang mga PWD at senior citizens,” said Concepcion, a registered voter from Brgy. Mambog IV in Bacoor, Cavite, about what he is looking for a candidate in his village. 

Garry Concepcion, a person with disabilities.

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Noel Alpaz, a 52-year-old voter from Brgy. Vitalez in Parañaque City, wants barangay officials to improve health centers by increasing the number of available medical professionals.

“Dapat araw-araw may doctor. Kasi marami tayong mga ka-barangay na gusto magpakonsulta pero walang doctor. I-ischedule pa bago magka-doctor,” Alpaz said.

“Paano kung mayroong emergency ka na at pupunta ka roon sa barangay pero wala naming doctor. Dapat may first aid sa barangay,” he added.

Henry Sabater, an incumbent SK Chairman, revealed that healthcare for senior citizens is one of his priority measures in his candidacy as barangay kagawad. 

Sabater emphasized that the budget for some 6,400 senior citizens in their barangay is only about P350,000 per year. He pointed out that he would push for higher funding for senior citizens if he gets a seat in their barangay.

“Kung ako po ay papalarin at ipapagkakaloob ng Poong Maykapal na ako’y manalo at maging halal na kagawad ng barangay. Ang hahawakan ko po na committee ay senior citizen, PWD and family relationship from SK. Kasi napansin ko napabayaan natin ang senior nung nakaraang taon,” he said.

Cleaner environment

Another issue emphasized by voters was the need for a better environment in their respective barangays. They argued that cleaner villages can lead to improved health and well-being of the residents.

Lambert Feliciano said one of the critical issues in their barangay is the persistent flooding. Feliciano is worried that cases of leptospirosis and even dengue could rise because of the ineffective sewerage system in their area.

“Simula noong pinanganak tayo, nariyan na hindi na nawala,” said 57-year-old Feliciano, a re-electionist in Brgy. Vitalez.

“We are constantly in dialogue with the local [government], because the barangay funds are not enough to address the flooding here. Lalo na iyong ano patuloy na paglilinis ng kanal,” he added.

Feliciano said part of their platforms and programs is improving waste management in their barangay. He noted that improper waste management clogs sewages, which leads to flooding and an unclean environment.

Alpaz shared the same concerns as Feliciano, proposing that officials should consider dredging in their creeks and fix the drainage system to prevent flooding.

“Iyong baha sa dito simula’t sapul hindi na nasolusyunan. Lagi na lamang bumabaha tuwing malakas ang ulan. Walang nag-aayos ng drainage rito,” he said.

Noel Alpaz, a 52-year-old voter from Brgy. Vitalez in Parañaque City.

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Timothy Daracan, a registered voter in Brgy. Muzon, Malabon City, said SK candidates should also consider holding information awareness and seminars to teach the youth about proper garbage disposal.

Security of villages 

Daracan added that the soon-to-be barangay officials should also focus on improving their barangay’s CCTV system to enhance the security of villagers.

Kevin Sapiera, a tricycle driver from Brgy. San Isidro, Quezon City, concurred with Daracan, adding that CCTVs help curb crimes in the barangay, such as robbery.

“Mga kumpletong CCTV na lang sa kalsada, sa dulo-dulo ng streets, at sa gitna. Kahit ganoon na lang para kitang-kita. Magkaroon man ng nanlilinlang at mga nananakawan,” Sapiera, who was robbed in their barangay, said. 

Sapiera shared that his robbery complaint was dismissed due to a lack of evidence since their barangay lacked CCTV to cover and monitor their entire area.

Rico Manalang, another resident of Brgy. San Isidro, proposed stricter implementation of curfew to minimize bystanders in the streets.

“Parang Maganda, wala nang tambay sa kalye. Para wala ng pagala-gala. Dapat alas-otso o alas-nuwebe nasa bahay na sila, iyon ang Maganda,” Rico said.

Education, inclusivity

Voters also proposed that barangay and youth council officials implement education-related projects and programs. Among these programs are raising awareness on the LGTBQIA+ community and providing educational assistance like free Wi-Fi to students.
Mark Lawrence Esguerra, a 19-year-old registered voter from Brgy. Milagrosa, Quezon City, said he expects village officials to raise awareness in their barangay about the LGBTQIA+ community to minimize discrimination. 

“Sa mga LGBTQIA+ na hindi pa sila familiar. Ayon din ‘yung kinakailangan nila para ma-open na rin ‘yung mind nung mga nakakatanda sa atin,” Esguerra, who identifies as part of LGBTQIA+, said.
Brgy. Doña Aurora, Quezon City resident Czarina Macamus said SK officials should focus on improving the youth’s education, especially since not everyone is privileged to have a formal education.
Macamus proposed that SK candidates provide free Wi-Fi and free library access for the youth.

“I hope talaga ‘yong maging number one priority nila is education talaga since hindi lahat ng mga kabataan ngayon is mayroong enough resources para suportahan ‘yong pag-aaral nila,” Macamus said.

“SK na tutulong doon sa mga kabataan like pagbabasa para sa mga elementary students, pagsusulat, and also free Wi-Fi, or libreng paggamit, or even mini library para sa mga kabataan,” she added.
CJ Paras, a former SK official in Brgy. Milagrosa, said youth council officials must also focus on shedding light on issues related to teenage pregnancy.
Feliciano vowed that they would intensify information dissemination on available scholarships so that more students could avail of the educational assistance. He pointed out that they also push for more alternative learning system (ALS) students from their barangay. — Caleb Dayday, Margarette Santos and Vivien Nickole Manapat 


This story was produced by second-year journalism students at Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila for their news-gathering class.


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