Duterte Youth's Cardema named National Youth Commission chairman

YOUTH UNDER DUTERTE. Then National Youth Commission OIC Ronald Gian Cardema makes announcements during a Malacau00f1ang press conference in April 2018.

RTVM screenshot

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has named Duterte Youth Movement leader Ronald Gian Cardema as the new National Youth Commission chairman, replacing Ice Seguerra.

The appointment was announced by Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday, August 28.

Cardema had been functioning as NYC officer-in-charge after Seguerra tendered his resignation last March. Cardema was then NYC commissioner representing Luzon.

One of NYC's first moves under Cardema as OIC was to cut its 15-year partnership with the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards, co-organized by the office of  Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV.

Cardema, who announced the decision, said the commission would rather the funding for the TAYO Awards go to a new set of awards he called the "President Rodrigo Roa Duterte Youth Leadership Awards."

The new NYC chief has said he wants to push for mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), also supported by Duterte. (READ: Duterte shares the trick that got him out of ROTC)

Under Cardema, NYC has been pushing for mandatory Citizenship Advancement Training (CAT) for high school students and even mandatory scouting for elementary school students.

It's a shift in focus from Seguerra's time, when NYC championed  HIV/AIDS awareness.

Cardema, last April, said NYC would not put the same level of priority on what he calls lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues.

"We are the National Youth Commission, not an LGBT commission. We are here to serve the tens of millions of Filipino youth, not only a specific sector within that big youthful population," he added.

Cardema first made waves as a passionate supporter of Duterte during the 2016 presidential elections.

He is National Chairman of the Duterte Youth Movement and Secretary-General for Luzon of the Tapang & Malasakit Alliance.

Duterte Youth landed in the news after its famous encounter with musician and Duterte critic Jim Paredes during protests along EDSA in February 2017 during the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

Paredes confronted members of the Duterte Youth who went to the People Power Monument where thousands of Duterte critics were holding a rally.

Solicitor General Jose Calida publicly expressed support for Duterte Youth, praising them for their "bravery" and calling them "defenders of the republic." – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.