Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City is in favor of not holding the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections for the next three years unless an SK reform law is passed.
The said stance has earlier been expressed by Commissioner Sixto Brillantes, Jr. of the Commission on Elections in light of the postponement of the 2013 youth polls by only a year which was signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd last October 4.
“I agree with him [Brillantes] that there should not be an SK elections without a reform law. I am for reforming the SK. I want the youth to have a say here [in government], but that does not mean that you have to give them 10 percent of the Internal Revenue Allotment budget,” Belmonte, a former Mayor of Quezon City, said in a chance interview.
The Speaker was referring to the policy wherein the SK gets its budget from the 10 percent of the IRA or the budget for local government units across the country.
“With such a huge budget, they just spend it on shady sports events, trainings and seminars, and they are not even accountable for their actions. Some of them are too young for the job,” Belmonte added.
Under the law signed by President Aquino, the 2013 SK elections will be postponed for a year and that the next SK polls should be scheduled by the Comelec between October 28, 2014 and February 23, 2015.
Brillantes, however, is adamant that such deadline will be of no use if Congress fails to pass a law reforming the youth council.
“We agreed to postpone it for about one year and assess the absence of SK as we wait for the reform bill on the SK. If there’s no reform law, there will be no elections. If there is still no reform law by 2015, then we will already seek for the abolition of the SK,” Brillantes said in a previous interview.
Brillantes then suggested that the youth representation be limited to one person such as electing one youth representatives which will sit in the barangay council
“SK hasn’t been effective, so one representative will be enough. We can also save money. Youth is already overrepresented in government, you have councilor, vice mayor, mayor, governor, youth party-list, among others. Why the need to create a youth council. The youth have more than enough representation,” Brillantes, an election lawyer, stressed. LLANESCA T. PANTI