Press Release
July 18, 2016

Bam on SK elections , federalism and constitutional change
Excerpts from ANC interview, July 18, Monday

On the 2016 SK elections

Firstly, we've been working on this for 15 years already. We started trying to amend the law when I was still with the National Youth Commission 15 years ago, and finally we were able to get it reformed.

We opted for reform because if we were to abolish everything that doesn't work, we'll probably abolish everything.

I also believe that this gives young people a genuine opportunity to participate in governance. We've had cases in the past where, properly supported and properly guided, they did really well.

However, we saw that there were really some structural problems in the SK, especially when the age was moved to 15 to 17 years old. It used to be 15 to 21 and it became 15 to 17, then the problem started to multiply.

So one of the reforms we pushed was increasing age, putting it back to 18 to 24 years old, which traditionally is really the age young people participate in their schools and when they start to join youth organizations or other NGOs.

The other big reform we put in is the political dynasty clause. Ngayon, hindi na puwedeng tumakbo iyong 2nd level of consanguinity or affinity with any national official or any local official in their locality.

I think this basically reboots the whole system because that was the main complaint about the SK - na lahat iyan anak ng barangay captain, anak ng mayor, anak ng mga councilor.

A lot of people were surprised that we got this reform passed. We were supported by a number of senators, a number of congressmen, in fact it was Sen. Ejercito who introduced this provision and we're happy that we got this passed.

Now, you look at a new SK where big reforms are put in. They put in reforms on financial independence, putting together local youth councils which can serve as a support system for your SK.

Here we are, we have the new law done. Signed into law already but unfortunately nobody knows about it. That's the problem.

There's a lack of information. The Comelec is preoccupied maybe with all of their internal squabbles.

The information dissemination is partly their responsibility, partly the DILG, partly the NYC but sa mga away na nangyayari, maybe hindi nabibigyan ng tamang pansin ng pagkakalat ng information about the SK.

We need to get our act together. We need to get all of these different stakeholders together. Let's focus on this. There's just one more week left of registration. Sayang naman if we did all of these major reforms and the 15 to 17 years olds won't be able to register.

If you registered and voted in the last election, kasama ka na. But there are still maybe about a million young people who need to be registered by July 30, this is if we don't postpone the elections.

But I'm assuming we won't postpone the elections because wala pa namang moves to do that.

We only have one week left so we're hoping young people can come out and register para hindi naman masayang itong reforms.

It took 15 years to put these reforms together, very bold moves I would have to say. First time ever that we have an anti-political dynasty clause in any of our laws and then walang tatakbo o walang boboto, sayang naman.

On Federalism

When you look at federalism you're really putting more powers in the local. All of these things, when you talk about education, health and peace and order, that's going to fall squarely on the shoulders of our local officials.

So we need to make sure that they're ready for it. President Duterte has said na maraming mayors ang nakasangkot sa drugs or maraming mayors nakasangkot sa corruption.

If we're gonna go to a federal system, we might as well make sure, ready rin sila at malinis ang LGUs natin.

On constitutional change

We need to have another body that can focus on these changes and these reforms, have enough time to really go through everything.

Hindi lang iyong federalism, that's just one of many, many things that they need to talk about. They should go through that genuine process. We also have the economic provisions that a lot of businessmen have been asking to be changed.

Personally, I also think iyong term limit ng local officials are too short. Three years is too short for any major reforms to happen so that needs to be revisited.

When we open this up, we need to have a genuine process to really look at everything.

With federalism, the pro there is more power to local officials, they have a direct hand in everything that happens in their area.

But some people have also been asking, magkano ba iyan? How much will it cost? Will it mean new taxes because you'll have a new government, you'll have a regional government also, that's new bureaucracy.

I think the con-con will hopefully take the effort to go through everything properly. This is the best time to do this. Second half is never good because then, you have rumors of you want to stay on.

It would be interesting to have a con-con in the era of social media.

We will have people talking about it on Facebook and Twitter, people commenting about it.

You'll have the different advocates focusing on different provisions. Maybe we'll find a totally new animal and be surprised with the results.

Ngayon, talagang every provision puwedeng mag-comment ang ibang tao and I think that could be refreshing for us.

I'm excited to see that process. It's something new for our country and hopefully, we'll see something good.

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