SK Abolition Halted, Iloilo youth orgs laud DILG Sec’s commitment to reform SK

25 08 2010

REPRESENTATIVES from the SK Reform Coalition main office in Metro Manila and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jessie Robredo on Tuesday agreed to amend the Local Government Code of 1991, particularly amending provisions on the Sangguniang Kabataan, Katipunan ng mga Kabataan and its powers and duties.

The dialogue was set to finally settle confusion on the issue of the SK Abolition. After the said meeting Secretary Robredo committed to carryout massive reform measures to empower the SK instead of abolishing the institution.

By this, the local partner youth organizations of the SK Reform Coalition are elated of the DILG Secretary’s commitment.

“We gladly welcome Secretary Robredo’s support in the initiative to deliberately reform the SK as an institution that directly involves the youth in governance”, says Kenneth Eusebio the First Time Voters’ Network (FTV) Iloilo City Coordinator.

“Secretary Robredo’s added commitment will make the SK Reform initiative gain ground and all the more gain acceptance among SK abolitionists”, follows Eusebio.

FTV recently joined calls in forwarding SK Reform amidst the initial pronouncement of President Aquino regarding the fazing-out of the said youth governance body.

Among the salient points which the SK Reform Coalition representatives and Robredo agreed on was the increasing of the age bracket of youth participants from 15-17 to 15-25. The two groups agreed to this in order to broaden participation and representation of the sector.

Also agreed during the consultation was the creation of a Youth Consultative Body or Youth Development Council, which will be composed of local youth organizations in the barangay. This body will act as the youth development arm of the barangays.
Akbayan Youth Iloilo City Coordinator Wharson Arguelles says that, “This common agreement on what to reform in the SK is an important step towards enhancing the organizational capacity of the SK to be responsive to the needs of the youth in the Barangays as well as expand the participatory reach of the institution”.

The mentioned agreements are included in the SK Reform and Empowerment Bill (House Bill no. 468) of Akbayan Party-list filed by its representatives Arlene Bag-ao and Walden Bello last July 1 which will be enhanced with the agreed amendments and submitted in a draft bill by DILG to Malacanang.

“We expect that the enhanced version of the Bill will be out very soon and that the next step will be done through legislation in Congress”, Eusebio supplements.

“However, we are not keen on expecting action from just pronouncements”, quickly adds Arguelles “Though we are very optimistic of the Secretary’s expressed support, we will try to see if such support be translated to real and concrete actions for reforming the SK”.

SK Reform Coalition and SCAP in Panay News, August 23 2010

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