The Sangguniang Kabataan or SK (Youth Council) elections have been postponed by the House of Representatives for the second time in two years by moving it to 2016.
The move came after approval on second reading of House Bill (HB) 5209, a measure that moves the Youth Council polls to the last Monday of October 2016.
HB 5209 was authored by Davao del Norte Rep. Anthony del Rosario, Baguio City Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr., Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, A-Teacher party-list Rep. Mariano Piamonte, Alliance of Volunteer Educators party-list Rep. Eulogio “Amang” Magsaysay and Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo.
“This [postponement]will allow Congress more time to legislate the appropriate amendments to applicable provision of the Local Government Code,” it read.
House Bill 5209 does not cover proposed amendments to reform the SK that will be separately deliberated by the House Committee on Local Government.
The SK elections were initially slated for October 28, 2013 before Congress moved it to February 12, 2015.
But for Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list, the prolonged stalling of the SK elections smells politicking on the part of the Aquino administration, considering that the 2016 presidential derby is less than two years away.
The Local Government Code provides that 10 percent of total annual internal revenue allotment of the barangay (village) should automatically go to the SK. This translates to at least P6 billion fund for the Youth Councils of 42,000 barangay (villages) across the country.
“The House majority is adamant on passing another SK elections postponement law as quick as possible. Yet one question remains unanswered: The SK is technically non-existent for over a year now, so where [do]these billions of pesos go?” Ridon asked.
“It’s becoming apparent that this is not an issue of amending the law governing the SK, or improving the SK for that matter. This is a matter of obtaining more funds for the LP war chest,” he said, referring to the ruling Liberal Party, which is headed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.