THERE will be a Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election on Feb. 21, announced Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano yesterday.

The election period starts tomorrow, Jan. 22, until March 2.

Castillano said eight slots will be open to all youth, aged 15 to 17, in each barangay, who may wish to become an SK chairperson or one of the seven councilors.

With the start of the election period, Castillano said a gun ban will be imposed starting today. This means, all permits to carry firearms outside residences are suspended until March 2. Gun ban exemptions are only given to members of the law enforcement agencies.

He said there will be no implementation of government projects, as well as no transfer or assignment of government employees during this period.

Castillano said that those interested can file their certificates of candidacy on Feb. 7 (Saturday) and Feb. 9 and 10. Commission of Elections (Comelec) offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accommodate the filing of certificates and other election-related concerns.

Campaign period is from Feb. 11 to 19. Campaigning is prohibited on Feb. 20 and on election day.

All candidates, including those who lose in the polls, are required to file their statement of contribution and expenditures on Feb. 22 and 23.

Castillano said that voters’ registration will be suspended for the whole month of February to allow the Comelec more time to prepare for the youth election.

The terms of elected SK officials, however, will be shorter as these are expected to expire in 2016.

“I think it’s about time for them to prove (their leadership) given this short time that they can improve the SK elections and show that the youth still matter,” said Castillano.

The SK has earned criticisms, including their alleged failure to deliver mandated tasks or their tendency to become “puppets” of politicians.