ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Eliza Consuello H. Billones, who started her one-week stint as Iloilo City’s youth mayor on Monday, November 14, said she would file on November 16 a resolution to push improved support systems for children in conflict with the law (CICL).
At a press conference held at Mayor Jerry Treñas’ office, Billones, a student of the Philippines Science High School (PSHS) Western Visayas campus said her resolution would highlight the need for a less punitive approach to CICLs.
“I have noticed that there are more CICLs now,” said Billones, alluding to the economic difficulties faced by many families during the COVID-19 lockdown that extended for more than two years.
“The approach should not so much be punishment as providing opportunities for rehabilitation, and support to continue or finish education,” the girl mayor said.
“It is also important to provide livelihood so they do not have to resort to illegal means,” Billones added.
The PSHS scholar said the annual program sponsored by the Rotary Club of Iloilo City and the city government, allowed the youth to share their perspectives on governance, enriching the diversity of Western Visayas’ premier city.
The youth officials were chosen through a two-part process. The first phase involved prospective youth officials writing essays on two topics: the impact of youth on governance and the return to face-to-face classes.
This was followed with an interview, with questions ranging from social issues to navigating young people’s personal challenges.
The assigned positions were handed down on Thursday, November 10, Billones said.
The youth officials, who also include counterparts of councilors and heads of executive offices attended the city’s flag-raising ceremony on November 14.
Billones said she is not a native of Iloilo City as her mother comes from Guimaras, and her father from Capiz.
“But I have always felt welcome in Iloilo City, where I feel that my voice is not less important just because I am young, or that I am at a disadvantage because I am a woman,” she said.
The city, she added, is a place where dreamers are not seen as peculiar but as visionaries, an approach that has seen various fields from arts to sports to civic action thrive. -Rappler.com