COTABATO CITY – The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Philippines (EDSP) here hold a candidates’ forum on October 25, 2007 at Poblacion, Nuro in the municipality of North Upi.

Dubbed as “Boto Mo, Kinabukasan Mo! Lumahok sa halalan at iboto ang magtataguyod sa kapakanan ng mamamayan” under the Philippine Episcopalians Action for Clean Elections” (PEACE) program of EDSP, the forum convened more than 300 candidates vying for Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan seats in North Upi.

Rev. Fr. Francis Imperial, parish priest of North Upi, applauded the aspiring officials who give interest in attending the forum cited that ‘this will pave a way for an interactive and responsive governance for the people of North Upi.’

“Despite the issue of corruptions and anomalies enfolding the country, we are hopeful that through our renewed and committed youth and barangay officials, we can make a change,” stressed Fr. Imperial.

As the resource speaker, Bai Ali Indayla, national secretary-general of Suara Bangsamoro, gave ample and valuable insights on the role of youth on politics of change. She also discussed the present situation of the Filipino people on politics, economic and cultural aspect.

Indayla challenged the wannabe youth officials to prove that Sangguiang Kabataan is no haven for corruption thus, would be a venue to explore and substantiate that youth has a significant function to promote good governance.

As a recall, North Cotabato representative Bernardo Piñol passed a resolution early this year to abolish the Sangguniang Kabataan for it has done nothing but serves as training ground for fraud and corruption.

In the discussion of national situation, Indayla dared the aspiring officials to take a stand on the current anomalies and bribery jolting the country. She emphasized that a public official should not go with the current flow of political system but do something for social transformation which is an important ingredient in building a productive society.

“Let us not just spectators watching the chitchats of politicians and cabinet secretaries in the televisions. Scams in the National Broadband Network deal and Cyber Education project has a chain reaction to the people of Mindanao. Imagine establishing a cyber project here in North Upi where dilapidated classrooms, insufficient number of tables and chairs, obsolete books and reference materials is a fact,” Indayla wrapped up.

Sponsored by Upi Episcopal Deanery, the candidates’ forum is part of the series of activities initiated by EDSP for the people of Cotabato city and adjacent areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). #