September 16, 2013
Senate approves postponement of SK elections
The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to defer the elections of the Sangguniang Kabataan scheduled on October 28, 2013.
Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., chairman of the Committee on Local Government and author of Senate Bill No. 1186, said that postponing the elections would give Congress ample time to craft legislation that would institute the reforms needed in the present structure of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).
"Let me take this opportunity to re-state my own position that I am not in favor of the abolition of the SK. But I am in support of its restructuring," Marcos said in his sponsorship speech
According to Marcos, different stakeholders who were consulted on the matter during committee hearings, unanimously "supported the postponement of the SK elections and agreed that the SK must be reformed and restructured in order to serve the goal for which it was established - that is, to represent in government the needs and concerns of the youth sector and to be the breeding ground for upright, decent, trustworthy and diligent youth leaders of the country."
Likewise, he said, the Department of Interior and Local Government after holding various consultations with the local government units, agreed that there is a need to postpone the scheduled Sangguniang Kabataan elections to pave the way to its restructuring and reforms.
"We, in Congress, cannot ignore the resounding call from all sectors of the society for the comprehensive restructuring of the Sangguniang Kabataan," Marcos said.
While a consensus had been reached that the elections would be postponed for a period not exceeding one year, Marcos deemed it would better if the period of elections be embodied in the reform and restructuring legislation, which will be the output of the various stakeholders in the study of issues of youth representation and governance. He said that once Congress approves the reform measure, a date for the SK elections will be set.
"Rest assured that as chairman of the Committee on Local Government, this representation will exert utmost efforts in the thorough deliberations, and eventual passage of the SK reform bill, so that immediately thereafter, the Sangguniang Kabataan elections can be held and conducted at the soonest possible time," Marcos said.
The participation of the youth in policy making and public governance began in 1975 when former President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Degree 684, establishing the first youth council through the Kabataang Barangay.
It was later reorganized and replaced by the Sangguniang Kabataan by virtue of Republic Act 7160 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and in 1992, the first Sangguniang Kabataan elections was held in 1992.
But over the years, the involvement of the youth in community affairs was not as effective as envisioned hence the call of SK's abolition. Marcos said.
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