Baguio, La Trinidad SKs want reforms-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
YOUTH officials in Baguio City and La Trinidad agree there is a need to reform the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).
Baguio SK Federation president Councilor Karminn Cheryl Dinney Yangot said they agree there is a need for reforms in the SK but disagreed with suggestions of some representatives to postpone the elections without any representative in the barangay council until 2016.
She said removing the youth representation in the Provincial Board, Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panlungsod will act as a prelude to the abolition of the SK.
She added the option of assigning the youngest winning Councilor to do the functions of the SK representative would not suffice either.
La Trinidad SK Federation president Councilor Brenden Quintos said they are happy with the recent Senate decision to postpone the elections but are still waiting for the bicameral committee sessions where they are still hoping for a holdover of their positions.
"What about those councils where the youngest member is 40 years old? I believe that would not be right and that would not probably be able to come up with legislations for the youth," she said.
Quintos backed the SK Federation president adding the one to two years vacancy will be detrimental to the welfare of the youth and the programs of the federation.
"We recognize that there's a need for reforms as the SK has been crafted more than 20 years ago. Now there is intergenerational change where the youth participation is more different than when it was years ago," he said.
Yangot also highlighted flaws in the current SK system where they are not given fiscal autonomy as their budget remains tied-up with that of the barangay. There are also instances when political affiliations of barangays chairman and the SK official result to the slashing or the realignment of projects intended for the youth.
She stressed youth projects must not be spent on land markers and other infrastructure and focus only on other projects where the youth will directly benefit.
The local SK Federation also raised issues to the younger SK composition at 15 to 17 years old limit to be raised up to 21 years old.
"While voters for SK would be from 15 years old to 21 years old, it would be best if those who assume positions in the federation are those aged 18 to 21 years old," she said.
The local SK Federation, she emphasized agree with Senate committee on local government chairman Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who moved to postpone the elections to give legislators enough time to craft legislation to institute the much needed reforms.
The Senate approved Monday with 19 senators voting in favor and one abstention in the measure postponing the SK elections on third and final reading.
"We, in Congress, cannot ignore the resounding call from all sectors of the society for the comprehensive restructuring of the Sangguniang Kabataan," Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., chairman of the local government committee and author of Senate Bill 1186," he said.
Marcos said stakeholders unanimously "supported the postponement of the SK elections and agreed that the SK must be reformed and restructured in order to serve the goal for which it was established – that is, to represent in government the needs and concerns of the youth sector and to be the breeding ground for upright, decent, trustworthy and diligent youth leaders of the country."
The House approved a similar measure on committee level last week.
Former President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree 684 in 1975, which established the first youth council, Kabataang Barangay.
Under Republic Act 7160, it was change to Sangguniang Kabataan and the first SK elections were held in 1992. (with Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 19, 2013.