Youth groups slam electioneering of Bong Go, Ejercito at NYC event

MANILA, Philippines – Early campaigning? Political propaganda? Or was there nothing to suspect?

Youth groups condemned the appearance of administration bets Bong Go  and JV Ejercito at the 12th National Youth Parliament (NYP) in Davao City on October 21 and October 23, respectively.

A tweet by Emmanuel Tiglao, presiding officer of the National Youth Parliament in Davao City, called out the National Youth Commission (NYC) for inviting Bong Go to their event, where the aide of President Rodrigo Duterte asked for the support of the delegates. 

The National Youth Commission is an agency concerned with the policy-formulation of youth-related institutions, programs, projects, and activities of the government. 

 

Look: NYC’s exploitation on the youth by inviting Bong Go to campaign and seek support from the delegates of the National Youth Parliament! Bong Go has no ‘political agenda’ raw pero may campaign materials at may jingle pa? pic.twitter.com/lr3NmEx7U8 — Emmanuel Tiglao (@ohmyEmman) October 22, 2018

In a separate tweet, Tiglao said that the delegates were even forced to do the “Duterte fist-pump” pose. 

Tiglao called out NYC organizers to stop using the youth for the administration’s political agenda. He added, “We’re here to address and formulate solutions to our country’s problems and issues.”

Tiglao told Rappler that Go “hijacked” their event.  According to him, Go's name was not included in the program, but the former presidential aide was allowed to talk about his plans and platforms for the government if he is elected. Go also posed for photos with the delegates.

“The campaign jingle was so loud. He even promised the delegates an island hopping [trip] for free,” added Tiglao.

He also said that leaders of the Sangguniang Federations were invited to party at a bar with Go later that night.

The party, according to Tiglao, was supposed to be a “secret,” but photos of the gathering were posted on social media.

Because of Go’s appearance at the event, Tiglao said their organization released a resolution condemning the incident and urging the NYC not to allow political personalities to use their parliament to advance any political agenda.

 

On October 23, senator JV Ejercito, who like Go is a senatorial bet in the 2019 elections, also graced the event. Some of the programs distributed during the NYP event listed Ejercito as a guest speaker.

Unlike, Go, however, Ejercito did not mention anything about his political plans during his turn to speak on stage.

According to Tiglao, opposition senatorial bet Samira Gutoc Tomawis also attended the youth parliament event. She is an NYP alumna. Tomawis, though, did not speak on stage during the affair. 

‘Stop electioneering’

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the group Youth for Human Rights and Democracy denounced the presence of Go and Ejercito at the NYL gathering. The group sought accountability from the NYC and its organizing committees for allowing “electioneering” and the “use of political propaganda."

Meanwhile, the Central Luzon Youth Parliament (PYLA Region II) called for "immediate action from proper authorities to not tolerate this kind of unacceptable actions.”

“This Statement is to show our resistance and manifestation of our disappointment to the National Youth Commission as organizer of the premier gathering of young parliamentarians of our country,” they said.

“We remind the NYC that the funds used for the NYP is from taxpayers’ money. We want the NYC to explain why it allowed political personalities, who are vying for positions of power in the national government, to appear in the said event,” the statement also read.

Another organization, Parliament of Youth Leaders (PYL) also issued a post on Facebook  reminding the "National Youth Commission that as a government agency you should uphold neutrality and not use any of your programs as a venue for political gain. The Commission as the voice of the youth should lead as example."

PYL stressed to the youth commission: "Keep the NYP (National Youth Parliament) away from partisan politics. Stick to your mandate."

In a Facebook post, Bong Go clarified that his attendance in the NYL event was not to campaign for himself.

“Kinilala rin ni Kuya Bong sa event ang papel ng National Youth Commission, sa pangunguna ni USec. Ronald Gian Cardema, upang maging mabuting ehemplo sa iba pang youth leaders,” the statement read. (Bong Go recognized in the event the role of the National Youth Commission headed by Undersertary Ronald Gian Cardema to be good example to other youth leaders.)

Go also thanked the National Youth Parliament delegates for their “warm welcome.”

'Uphold political neutrality'

In a statement sent to Rappler, the National Youth Parliament in Davao City urged the NYC to maintain the NYP as an organization free of national and local political interest. 

"We call on the NYC to maintain the integrity of the parliament by prohibiting the special accommodation of individuals and groups that have political agenda (such as but not limited to those who have filed for their candidacy in the upcoming elections as an individual or as part of a party list). Other matters affecting the flow of the parliament must have consent from the body," the statement said. 

The organization called on the NYC to uphold "political neutrality" in the conduct of their duties. "Likewise, we call on all our fellow delegates to spearhead the campaign against traditional and personality politics," the statement added.  Rappler.com

 

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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