SECTIONS
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Cendaña: SK and uncertainties


THE future will always be uncertain because we will never have absolute control of it.

A pundit once said that this is not a world of guarantees but a world of probabilities. Like change, uncertainty in this world is constant. However, extreme or unbridled uncertainty results in fear and anxiety. Even before it is resurrected, the new Sangguniang Kabataan is confronted by many uncertainties. Young Filipinos are feeling anxiety and fear for the institution they defended against forces that sought to abolish it. The institution they struggled to reform.

FEAR

"What if, even with all the reforms and control mechanisms in place, the new SK still becomes corrupt?"

This question was raised by a student leader at a forum on governance and youth development organized by the Department of Political Science of the University of Baguio. Interestingly, the query came from a non-political science student. According to the student leader, he witnessed how the previous SK in their community became "corrupt and ineffective".

It was an interesting question. It revealed young people's perception about the SK as a brand and an institution. The question also implicitly expressed a genuine concern for the institution. Young people still fear that the new and reformed SK might revert back or degenerate into what it was like before.

The fears and even pessimism of many young people are not unwarranted as the history of SK was marked with vestiges of patronage politics. The calls for its abolition were and still are fueled by perceived and actual issues of inefficiency, ineffectiveness and irrelevance.

In the case of the SK and so with other situations in life, fear must be conquered with faith. The new SK has to win back its constituents in particular and the society in general. It should stand on the solid foundation provided by the SK Reform Act and belief in young people's capacity to govern and deliver solutions to many problems and concerns of the sector and the country.

By the way, I responded to the query by encouraging the student leader who raised the concern to register so he can help to elect competent and committed SK officials. I also encouraged him to run for a post in the new SK because his expression of concern is a sign that he could be a good leader.

ANXIETY

Anxiety is generally defined as a feeling of nervousness, unease or worry about an uncertain outcome. This accurately captures and describes how young people feel now about the SK elections scheduled in October of this year. Expectations increase anxiety especially for the SK elections that have been postponed thrice already since 2013. The postponements led to a four-year absence of what is probably the first and only community-level youth governance mechanism in the world.

Anxiety among concerned young people is high because of pronouncements from authorities that seek to postpone barangay elections anew. This proposal was formalized through House Bill (HB) Number 5359 which allows moving this year's barangay polls to May 25, 2020. If this gets approved, this will be the fourth postponement of the SK polls. It will lead to a seven-year absence of the SK, a de facto abolition.

On the issue of the SK, the anxiety stems from much anticipation. The NYC hopes that it will not end with frustration.
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