4 07 2013
Several months before the barangay elections, student and youth groups are calling for reforms to be placed within the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), citing that “now would be the proper time for us to entertain the reforms needed”.
Youth groups Akbayan Youth (AY) and the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) cite that the SK is a fundamental mechanism for youth participation and calls for its abolition are “essentially anti-youth”.
AY National Spokesperson JC Tejano said that “the flaws within the SK as an institution can be remedied and thus should not be abolished”.
Fundamental Right
SCAP Chairperson Heart Dino comments that the right to participation of the youth is protected by the Youth in Nation Building Act and by several conventions by the United Nations.
Youth in Nation Building Act or Republic Act 8044 stipulates that the State “recognizes its responsibility to enable the youth to fulfill their vital role in nation-building”.
Dino mentions “that if the State recognizes this role of young people, then SK abolition is not the way to go”.
Reform, not Abolition
Seats for barangay and SK seats will be filled in a national election to be held in October this year. Calls for abolition of the SK have been forwarded recently by the Commission on Elections and by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
“We are aware of the criticisms against the SK but these can be resolved if only Congress takes the time to pass the bills addressing these”, says quips Tejano.
Tejano maintains that the abolition will further limit the participation of young people in governance. “If we are to produce new and vibrant leaders, we should not abolish institutions that seek to produce these”, he said.
Abolition is an emotional response
The National Anti-Poverty Commission Youth and Students’ (NAPC-YSS) Sectoral Representative Gibby Gorres also claims that the call for SK abolition is an “emotional response”.
“It is an “emotional response” from the Comelec and Atty. Macalintal. They are frustrated with the way the SK is going but this does not make their position right. We are frustrated with the way Congress and the barangay officials are functioning but it is illogical to push for their abolition”, says Gorres.
“Since the inception of the SK in the Local Government Code of 1990, no reforms have been introduced to the institution. And by no fault of the SK officials of this country but because Congress has no political will to reform the institution”, claims Gorres.
He also mentions that proposal for reforms have been in discussion since the 13th Congress but the legislators have sat on the issue. ###



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