Youth leader laments move-A A +A
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
POSTPONING the youth elections is tantamount to abolishing the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), said SK Cebu City Federation John Phillip Po II.
The House of Representatives voted to postpone the SK elections from Oct. 28 this year to the last Monday of October 2016. There will be no holdover, which means the term for all SK representatives that are ex-oficio members of the Sanggunian will end.
“To me this is already a way of abolishing the SK and the worst part is there will be no youth representation while this happens,” said Po.
“It would have been okay if there was an alternative for youth representation but from what I have initially read there is none. Now we're just awaiting whether the President (Benigno Aquino III) will sign it or not,” Po also said.
Other elected officials share Po’s sentiments.
Rama hopes that the congressmen who voted for the postponement of the SK elections had consulted their constituents before the vote.
“If that is the voice of the people then we will respect it,” said Rama.
Rama said the youth equate politics, including the SK elections, with corruption.
While he is against the abolition of the SK, the mayor said the youth elections should be insulated from the regular elections.
Councilor Alvin Dizon, a former youth leader, was also worried about the lack of voice of the youth in the City Council.
“The SK was instituted in the Local Government Code to provide a venue for the youth to develop leadership skills,” Dizon told reporters yesterday.
Dizon was a member of the Presidential Council for Youth Affairs (now called the National Youth Commission) when the first SK election was conducted.
He admitted that patronage politics has affected the purity of the SK elections.
Most of the time, the youth who have been made to run for SK officials are also children of elected officials.
Among the reforms Dizon believes would work for SK is raising the age of the candidates from between 15 and 17 to between 15 and 21.
Councilor Lea Japson said she is not just against the abolition of the SK but also
against the postponement of the youth elections.
“What's the point when there will be elections for the barangay in October anyway?” asked Japson.
She also questioned why there will be no holdover since this would mean the youth voice would not be heard in the different councils.
Rama also asked if the budget for the SK would go to the barangays if the law postponing the youth elections is signed.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) South District Election Officer Edwin Cadungog told Balitang Bisdak that the election office has already spent a lot for the preparation of the materials for the SK elections.
The postponement though will not affect the barangay polls on Oct. 28.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 25, 2013.