Senator proposes SK reforms

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


SENATOR Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV warned Tuesday that the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) would return to the clutches of partisan politics if proposed reforms are not immediately passed.

"If not passed on time, all the reforms that we are working on will go down the drain. Congress should buckle down and work for the passage of the pending SK reform bills," said Aquino, chairperson of the Senate committee on youth.

Last year, Congress approved the postponement of the SK elections for one year without holdover with the goal of passing an SK reform bill before October 28, 2014. Lawmakers also agreed to hold the next polls between October 28, 2014 and February 23, 2015.

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Aquino, author of Senate Bill 1090 or the "Liga ng Bayaning Kabataan (LBK)" Bill, said the postponement was approved to give Congress enough time to finalize much-needed reforms in the country's youth representation system.

"The reforms we are pushing are crucial as they will harness volunteerism among the youth and pull them away from clutches of partisan politics,” the senator said.

Among the reforms being pushed by Aquino in his measure include the increasing the age of SK officials from the 15-17 years old to 18-24 years old.

Aquino also wants elected youth leaders to undergo mandatory leadership and entrepreneurship trainings to equip them with the proper knowledge needed for their positions.

"The youth sector should actively lobby for these reforms so they can be put in place before the SK elections next year," said Aquino.

Earlier, Aquino stressed that poor participation of leaders in consultations in different parts of the country has delayed the approval of the bill.

Aquino's LBK bill is aimed at overhauling youth representation system and instills the true spirit of volunteerism on the youth.

The bill replaces the current form of the SK with a body composed of representatives of youth organizations.

The measure also calls for "bottom-up budgeting" and "end-to-end transparency, accountability, good governance, and community youth participation" for all LBK projects.

"The bill is anchored on the twin beliefs that youth organizations are a potent force in nation-building, and that the power of young Filipinos is strongest when they work with people who share their values and goals, and in an environment of teamwork and collaboration," the senator said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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