Editorial: Bidding the SK goodbye-A A +A
Thursday, September 26, 2013
SING no sad songs for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) after members of the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed last Sept. 23 to postpone the elections for officials of the youth group from October this year to sometime between Oct. 28, 2014 and Feb. 23, 2015.
The measure now goes to President Noynoy Aquino for the final nail in the SK coffin, which is his signature. But judging from the demeanor of the President’s allies in Congress, like House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., it looks like nothing will get in the way of the implementation of what Congress agreed.
An interesting provision in the measure is the one that states that current SK officials won’t be allowed to function on a holdover capacity. That, according to Sen. Francis Escudero who voted against the bill, is tantamount to abolishing the SK during the postponement period.
The official stand is that the postponement is meant to give time for legislators to reform the SK system, which is widely regarded to have failed in its intention of training the country’s youth to become good leaders. (Instead, the SK has become a breeding ground of trapos and its elections hounded by the same ills afflicting trapo polls.)
“We are not pushing for the abolition of the SK,” Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said of the postponement. Other legislators promised that in the interim they will come up with measures to reform the SK system.
There is no assurance, however, that the plan will be realized considering that other sectors are bent on doing away with the SK altogether. Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes, for example, wants to see the postponement as a step toward SK abolition.
So again, sing no sad songs for the SK. It is an experiment that failed because of many reasons, among them its incorporation into the country’s corrupted and flawed electoral setup.
With lessons learned, perhaps well-meaning legislators can come up with better ways to train future leaders and encourage the youth’s participation in governance. One such improvement would be to insulate youth organizations from the abhorrent practices of politicians.
Whether the SK is abolished or merely reformed, the goal of developing idealistic leaders among our country’s youth remains.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 27, 2013.