Abolish SK-A A +A
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Sangguniang Kabataan or SK for short.
Its origins can be traced back to former president Ferdinand Marcos’s Kabataang Barangay (KB) founded in 1975 to afford the youth a voice through local governance.
A seven-member barangay-based council made up of 15-17 year old members who do not even have the legal capacity to enter into contracts on account of age, its role is suspect and seemingly irrelevant in the face of a glaring lack of significant achievements since its inception in 1992.
The SK is supposed to be the youth legislative body of every community. Its mandate is to initiate policies, programs and projects for the development of the youth. But has the SK actually managed to do this in the last 20 years?
If the needs of the youth must be represented in Congress, let the party list system address this. There is no need to form legislative councils for the youth at the barangay level. I must question the wisdom of empowering 15-17 year old leaders in the legislative arena.
Do they actually have the emotional maturity as well as the experiential ability to formulate policies, promulgate resolutions and implement programs designed to enhance the social, political, economic, cultural, spiritual and physical development of the youth?
I argue on the basis that 15-17 year old kids are still under parental supervision. How can they be tasked to promulgate resolutions or to liquidate budgets of huge amounts? If many 40-year olds are not yet blessed with financial or emotional wisdom, I very much doubt if 15-17 year old kids are up to these tasks.
While I do not doubt the intellectual capacities as well as creative abilities of teen-agers, I seriously doubt that they possess the wisdom to dispense of these tasks effectively, efficiently and with integrity.
If we must tap the youth in nation-building, we should do so through the academe. The basic duty of 15-17 year old kids is to pursue excellence in their academic endeavors. Their leadership abilities can be nurtured and honed through school organizations.
In 2007, the University of the Philippines” Center for Integrative and Development Studies produced a report outlining the weak performance of the SK in the last ten years.
In 2010, these findings were supported by the thesis of two UP Mass Communication students who found supervision of the SK as well as accountability for its funds, weak. The thesis further alleged that bribery and overpricing between 10-12 percent was prevalent throughout the organization with the full knowledge of adult politicians.
The SK, after two decades, has sadly failed to become the envisioned training ground for future leaders of the nation. Instead, it has become, in the words of Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice, “a school of corruption.” Further, it has effectively served to be the entry point for children of politicians who wish to perpetuate their political dynasties.
Postponing the SK elections is the right move. But will reforms do any good? Why reform an organization that has become ineffective and irrelevant? Let’s abolish the SK altogether.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 06, 2013.