Youth groups demand NYC chair resignation

Saying the National Youth Commission (NYC) deserved competent leaders, various youth and student groups from different universities called on NYC chairperson Ryan Enriquez to resign for his “misrepresentation of the Filipino youth.”

At least 120 Sangguniang Kabataan and student organizations signed a unity statement on Sunday, June 7, clamoring for the NYC chairperson’s resignation.

They stressed the need for “genuine youth representation,” adding the NYC has kept mum on issues affecting the youth sector including the clamor against online classes, mental health concerns, and massive unemployment, among others.

“We hold Chair Enriquez accountable for NYC’s silence and inaction during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Under his leadership, NYC has not released statements or action points to address pressing issues faced by the youth sector...Enriquez’s actions are an insult to the Filipino youth and the dignity of NYC’s employees,” the groups said in a statement.

They added that NYC showed its support for the anti-terrorism bill and a legislative measure granting additional powers to President Rodrigo Duterte without consulting youth stakeholders or other NYC officials.

“His support for the bill reflects his disregard for the welfare of citizens, particularly the youth, critical about our country’s governance,” it added.

The NYC Employees Association (NYCEA) also voiced their concerns about the leadership of Enriquez.

Instead of coordinating with the other commissioners to vote on an issue, the employees association said that Enriquez would decide by himself.

The NYCEA cited several instances that Enriquez abused his authority, violated his security of tenure, and harassed the agency's personnel. This prompted the association to appeal to President Duterte to take action in a letter sent to his office on May 21.

“NYC should not be led by an individual who gravely misrepresents the Filipino youth and shows no clear concern for their welfare. Its employees, who work closely with the members of the youth sector, should not be governed by an individual who steps on their dignity,” the youth groups said in their statement.

The 12th National Youth Parliament, an alumni group from the NYC-led activity of the same name, has even distanced themselves from the government agency, saying that “the statements on the National Youth Commission Facebook Page do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position, nor are they endorsed by the 12th National Youth Parliament.”

Youth groups including Oriental Mindoro Society of Young Parliamentarians and Sanguniang Kabataan-Nagrumbuan demanded for the immediate removal of Enriquez and called for “genuine youth representation in the NYC.”

“Calling for the resignation of the current NYC Chair Enriquez is a call for a genuine representation of the aspirations of the Filipino Youth...At a time of crisis where programs and policies undermine the capacity of the Filipino youth, we need genuine leadership that fights for and safeguards their interests. We need leadership that champions democratic values, inspiring the Filipino youth to work together in building this nation,” they said.

The groups said those interested in joining their plea can invite their own organization to sign and share the unity statement– Rappler.com