Breathing Fresh Air into Local Politics
Laguna Board Member Danzel Fernandez leads generational changing of the guards.
BY ROBIN LUCAS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL SORIANO
Every election in the Philippines is a time for change, and the 2022 elections in the 1st District of Laguna were no different. It was one of the elections wherein members of G en Z (those born in the late 90s to early 2010s) took part, both as voters and candidates, and with the new generation comes the desire to have young leaders who reflect their values. Danzel Rafter Fernandez is one of these new leaders.
Fernandez, the son of Santa Rosa, Laguna Representative Dan Fer nandez and actress Sheila Ysrael, is one of the best representatives of his generation—digitally savvy, well-educated, and self-aware—and he understands this yearning for change.
“I believe the reason w hy people voted for me is for one, I am young. Kung mapapansin mo marami ngayon sa bagong politicians natin (If you noticed, many of our new politicians now) are young individuals. And I believe that as young individuals, we are more attuned to the new things happ ening, the changes that we have, not on ly in the p olitical sphere, pati na rin sa (but also) changes in technology, health, or kung anumang (other various) sectors,” says Fernandez.
“Siguro ang gusto din ng mga tao is some one new. Someone who is not of traditional na pinanggagalingan. Kumbaga, para makabago yung itsura, makabago yung nakaupo, bago din yung mamumuno at tutulong sa tao (I guess people are also looking for someone new. Someone who is not of traditional upbringing. It’s like, to change the system, you change the leadership, you elect someone new to help the people),” he adds.
The ne west member of Laguna’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) is aware of the challenges of his new position and displays wisdom that b elies his 24 years of age.
“Kung iisipin mo, sa sobrang dami nang naging board members in the past, parang maiisip mo lahat na ng ordinance nagawa na eh (If you think about it, so many people have been board members in the past, it’s almost like they’ve made every ordinance you could think of). Like, what else can you add, what can you do? So, the only way you could know kung anong kailangang gawin (what you need to do) is to go down to people and ask,” says Fernandez.
Walking the talk, his agenda is based on consultations with people on the ground, along with his own assessment of what Laguna needs at this time.
“I remember I consulted the people, other leaders regarding the current situation. There is a problem in our city wherein people are underemployed. Especially now, with the pandemic which caused plenty of people to lose their jobs, plenty of people lost their businesses,” he reveals.
The young legislator looks to the members of his generation to help with the solution.
“On the bright side of the pandemic, marami tayong mga bagong young entrepreneurs, bagong mga negosyo, so I want to help them in terms of legislation kasi ‘yun ‘yung trabaho ko sa pagiging (we have plenty of new young entrepreneurs, new businesses, so I want to help them in terms of legislation because that’s my job as a) board member,” says Fernandez.
The board member, who heads the Committees on Trade and Industry and Labor and Employment, is looking to pass measures that would help all concerned. For example, in labor, he is looking to create an ordinance to incentivize businesses in the province to hire the youth, and grants or .....