THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Cordillera region urged all individuals who are aged 15-30 years old to take part in the upcoming Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in October this year.
“We are encouraging the youth to participate in this activity because this is an opportunity for them to engage in governance and decision-making. This is one way for them to raise their voice,” DSWD-Cordillera Administrative Region OIC Regional Director Janet Armas said.
On January 15, 2016, the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law or Republic Act 10742, “An Act Establishing Reforms in the Sangguniang Kabataan Creating Enabling Mechanisms for Meaningful Youth Participation in Nation- building, and other Purposes” was signed by then President Benigno Aquino III.
RA 10742 aims to enhance the existing laws concerning the SK since it is being considered as a unique and genuine system for youth participation worldwide.
From the previous 15-18 years old, individuals who are 18-24 years old are now qualified to hold a position in the SK as a chairperson or councilor. Moreover, membership for the Katipunan ng Kabataan is now open to individuals 15-30 years old.
The law defines the creation of the Katipunan ng Kabataan (KK), which shall serve as the highest policy-making body to decide on matters affecting the youth in the barangay. The KK will also elect the SK chairperson and seven members including the Sangguniang Kabataan Secretary and the Sangguniang Kabataan Treasurer.
SK chairperson and members will compose the SK which represents the KK during the planning and implementation of activities concerning the youth in the barangay.
The reform law also now contains an anti-political dynasty clause, which states that youth to hold positions in the SK should not be within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity of the elected officials.
This was included to prevent individuals from taking advantage of the youth to advance their political interests.
SK officials are entitled to privileges including exemption from payment of tuition and other school fees in any public tertiary school and locally funded educational institutions, exemption from taking the National Service Training Program- Civic Welfare Training Service (NSTP-CWTS), inclusion in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) coverage and the SK chairperson will have the same privileges as other Sangguniang Baranggay officials.
“This law furthers the importance of youth participation in our country. This leads to the empowerment of this sector of our society thus opening more opportunities for the youth. It is very important that they take part in this so that their needs and opinions will be regarded,” Armas added. (Nerizza Faye Villanueva/DSWD-CAR)