SK reform bill pressed as urgent

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

THE National Youth Commission is pushing further for the urgent approval of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform and Empowerment Bill.

In a recent press conference, the NYC along with former youth leaders seeking for the approval of the House Bill 468, highlighted the urgency of the bill to be enacted.

Jason Balag-ey, majority floor leader of the National Youth Parliament 9, made clear the SK was not abolished but was merely put on hold pending reforms.


Republic Act 10632 postponed the SK on October 2013 "to a date to be determined by the COMELEC between October 28, 2014 to February 23, 2015.”

Balag-ey mentioned if the SK Reform Bill is not approved immediately before the Commission on Elections announces the schedule and guidelines for the elections, the SK elections will continue the status quo.

"Aminado tayo sa mga lamat ng current SK system, that is why we cannot continue that way, we need reform," he said.

The SK Reform and Empowerment Bill being pushed seeks to change the age qualification of the SK chairman to 15 to 25 years old from the 15 to 17 years old in the past.

Balag-ey said the next SK chairpersons should be of legal age and character enough to enter a contract, which will make them liable in administering funds for projects and activities.

Under the reform bill, fiscal autonomy is also sought which will be under the Department of the Interior and Local Government and to be monitored by the Department of Budget and Management and Commission on Audit.

One of the significant aims injected in the bill is the anti-political dynasty, which Balag-ey said should at least start in the SK level.

He expounded the anti-dynasty clause provides someone with a family or relative in the government that is "first and second degree of affinity and consanguinity belonging in the same province" will not be qualified to run as an SK official.

Furthermore, the bill targets to abolish the SK Federation, which was perceived as "breeding ground for traditional politics" because it was where some SK leaders were influenced by elder politicians.

Instead of the SK Federation, Balag-ey added they are proposing a establishment of a Local Youth Development Council, which will be composed of government agencies and NGOs that concerns youth welfare.

Others included in the reform bill are the integrated Sangguniang Kabataan Official's Leadership and Award Re-orientation-Basic Orientation Seminar (ISKOLAR-BOS) aimed to educate the officials on their functions and duties; the allocation of 10% of their funds for the conduct of capacity building activities; and creating an SK Online Academy or a peer-to-peer online website.

To further inform and encourage the youth to push for the SK Reform and Empowerment Bill, the National Youth Commission will lead a silent protest through information dissemination on the National Action Day for SK Reform at the Igorot Park August 12.

Different youth organizations and former SK leaders will be participating in the event.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 08, 2014.

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