CANCELLING the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections this year will save the country a lot of money.
“We can save a lot of funds, more or less P100 million nationwide, because we don’t have to allocate budget for the SK,” said lawyer Renato Magbutay, regional election director of Commission on Elections in Northern Mindanao.
Comelec has cancelled the production of materials needed for the SK elections since postponing the SK polls has been approved in the bicameral committee.
Congress ratified the bicameral conference committee report deferring the SK polls set next month to a new date between October 28, 2014 and February 23, 2015.
If Congress fails to enact laws that will reform the SK within next year, then it should just abolish the youth council, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Wednesday.
"What we want is the total abolition of the SK but they (Congress) said they will try to reform the SK law. If they can come out with a good reform law, then it's okay with us to continue with SK. Otherwise, it should lead to an abolition," Brillantes said at the sidelines of the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2014 national budget of Comelec on Wednesday.
Without the SK reform law, Brillantes said it will not call for an SK elections within the prescribed period.
"Why would it call for an SK election if there is no reform? That is the basic proposition for the postponement. Kaya tayo nag po-postpone para magkaroon ng reform law," Brillantes said.
Magbutay added the SK election has been an additional task for the Comelec.
“Wala nay moadto mga bata sa precincts (There will be no youth voters anymore who will go to the precincts),” added Magbutay.
The paraphernalia for the barangay elections like the list of official voters are ready for distribution.
The elections gun ban will start on Saturday, September 28. Comelec checkpoints will be installed in vital areas in the region.
Meanwhile, the League of Filipino Students in Lanao regional coordinator Jay Phards Capistrano said the issue here is not about how much will the government spend for the well-being of the youth.
“The real catch is that the government is trying to strip the youth their constitutional rights,” said Capitstrano.
Article II, Section 13 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that: “The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.”
He said the bill will discredit the effort of the youth who endured those long queues at the Comelec to register in order to exercise their right to vote.
SK in Oro
Cagayan de Oro City’s SK Federation president Sunshine Mae Obsioma will be sad if the bill postponing the SK polls will be approved. She will be one of those who belong to the last batch of youth serving the SKs in the country.
“What would happen to the youth in Cagayan de Oro who are willing to serve their fellow youth,” she added.
Obsioma said they the SK in Oro conducted leadership, team building, and personal development trainings that could enhance the well-being of the youth.
Corruption, not the SK
“The allegation that SK is the ‘breeding ground’ for corruption is just an empty slogan,” she said.
She added the generalization that there is corruption in the SK is unfair to those officials who have religiously been rendering services to the youth.
“Those allegations are without facts,” Obsioma said.
“How would corruption happen? The problem is not in the SK,” she said the SK officials cannot do anything with the funds without the approval of the barangay chair.
Capistrano said he knows about reports on the alleged graft and corruption in the SK.
However, he said “The postponement of the SK election does not address the graft and corruption issue.” (With Sunnex)