THE National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) – Youth and Student Sector has urged the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) candidates for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections 2023 to focus on anti-poverty programs for the youth once elected.
NAPC-Youth and Student Sector Council representative Ninian Sumadia raised this call to sustain the reduction of poverty among the youth sector in the country and work towards its complete eradication.
“Nakikita natin na ito ay bumababa. Although yung halos 16 percent na ito ay still very challenging sa aming sector (We see it going down. Although this almost 16 percent is still very challenging in our sectors),” Sumadia explained during the Mindanao-wide Regional Sectoral Assembly in Davao City on September 20 to 21.
However, Sumadia said that one way of eradicating poverty in the youth sector is to involve them in the government noting, “Isa na riyan ‘yung parating na Barangay election sa ngayon kung saan mayroong SK election (One of those is the upcoming Barangay election where there is an SK election).”
She urged the SK candidates to prioritize implementing anti-poverty programs for the youth in their respective localities.
Sumadia added, “Nakikita natin dahil may 10 percent na budget yung mga kabataan pagdating sa SK (kaya) mahalaga na yung budget na ito ay ma-maximize para doon sa mga kapakanan at talagang pangangailangan ng mga kabataan sa kanilang mga lokalidad (We see that SK has a 10 percent budget, so it is important that this budget is maximized for the welfare and real needs of the youth in their localities).”
Sumadia revealed that to fully realize these aspirations, they are strongly supporting the implementation of the SK Reform Act.
She said, “Sa SK Reform Act nariyan yung mga reform provisions para sa mga SK na nakafocus sa mga iba’t ibang mga programa katulad ng i-address yung problems on education, sa out of school youth, doon sa tumataas na bilang ng mga teenage pregnancy sa kanilang mga lugar, pagkakaroon ng mga oportunidad sa trabaho, at ganun din doon sa disaster risk reduction sa mga iba't ibang mga barangay (In the SK Reform Act, there are reform provisions that are focused on different programs such as addressing the problems on education, out of school youth, the increasing number of teenage pregnancies in their areas, job opportunities, and disaster risk reduction in the different barangays).”
Sumadia said that the youth in the country are still battling with issues concerning limited access to education, health problems like the increasing number of teenage pregnancies, mental health issues, and limited job opportunities for the youth, especially among out-of-school youth (OSY).
She emphasized that they are working hand in hand with the concerned agencies, like the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Commission on Population, and other government agencies, to address these issues.
With the ballooning number of teenage pregnancies, Sumadia said that they are particularly strengthening their education and awareness campaign to lower teenage pregnancy cases in the country.
Sumadia also revealed that the sector is currently pushing for the creation of the Magna Carta for Out-Of-School Youth (OSY) to ensure that OSYs will be given opportunities to go back to school and continue their studies.
In the Children Sector, NAPC-Children Sectoral Council representative Josh Serilo noted a 26.4 percent poverty incidence based on 2021 data.
However, Serilo highlighted progress, attributing it to improved representation and active involvement of the sector in government decision-making processes.
“So far, it has been improving. Our sector is seeing levels of high participation coming from our child representatives nationwide,” he explained.
However, Serilo revealed that Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Child Labor are still among the primary issues that the children sector is currently facing.
To combat these issues, Serilo said that with the signing of the IRR of the Anti-OSAEC, they will be one of the government bodies to spearhead and monitor its full implementation.
He also revealed that the sector’s thrust in the coming years will be the eradication of all forms of child labor in the country.
Serilo admitted that these issues are rooted within the family, especially among poor families, saying “minsan yung mga parents pa natin yung nag-uudyok sa mga bata nila on these kinds of cases (sometimes it's the parents who push their children on these kinds of cases).”
He further urged the government to engage the families themselves, not just the children, in the anti-poverty programs.
“Nakikita talaga namin na dapat yung engagement natin ang sta-start talaga sa pamilya, particularly yung pag-i-engage talaga natin ng mga programs (and) policies natin (sa kanila) (We really see that the engagement should really start with the family, particularly engaging the families with programs and policies of the government,” he added. PIA DAVAO