THE best preparation to make the youth strong leaders combines a good formal education and volunteer work, but both are missing from the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), a founder of the Dilaab organization said yesterday.

“Both are missing from the SK with its unbalanced demands on the time of the youth and its salaries for officials. Youthful energies and aspirations are better channeled elsewhere,” Fr. Carmelo Diola said.

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Dilaab is inclined to support the abolition of the SK.

“Good intentions are not enough. Corruption is too rampant. They begin in dynasties,” he said in a text message.

“I am talking about the SK not only in Cebu. We don’t question the intention (in creating the SK) but the system and culture have become useless. And that’s the feedback we received from our volunteers from various areas of the country,” Diola said.

One way to reform the SK, he added, will be to make it purely voluntary.

He said that SK chairpersons in the barangays are raring to become SK Federation presidents because that makes them ex-officio members of the city and municipal councils and even the Provincial Board, and this entitles them to P16,000 to P25,000 a month.

Proposals to abolish or reform the SK have surfaced amid discussions on whether to postpone the SK and barangay elections, scheduled on Oct. 25 this year.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she supports the proposal to postpone the barangay and SK elections and to synchronize these with the 2013 elections.

Another election this year, after an “emotionally, psychologically and financially draining” elections last May, would also mean the National Government can use its funds for more urgent priorities.

“If the terms of the barangay captains and SKs were to be extended, I don’t think that’s the end of the world. It will even make for more continuity,” said Garcia.

She also believes the postponement will give officials a chance to study better the possible changes in the barangay and SK slate, as well as the proposal to abolish the SK.

Interviewed separately, Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south) said he opposes the proposal to postpone the October elections.

There are at least 15 bills in Congress for the postponement of the October polls, including the proposals of Reps. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing (Cebu Province, 6th district) and Rachel “Cutie” del Mar (Cebu City, north district).

While Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile wants the October polls simultaneously conducted with the regular elections in 2013.

Osmeña said the reason lawmakers want to defer the elections is to avoid further expenses.

“That’s the real reason, they don’t like to spend anymore for the candidates. For me, ready or not, let’s have the elections,” he said.

Cebu City Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Eugenio “Jingjing” Faelnar said he is also in favor of holding the SK and barangay elections this October.

The ABC president confirmed, though, that majority of the barangay captains in the city are in favor of a postponement. (EOB/ETB/JGA)