ILOILO CITY: The synchronized barangay and youth council elections slated on October 28, 2013 must go on but the ticklish issue about the abolition of the sangguniang kabataan (SK) is up to Congress to decide.
This was the reaction of Sheen Marie Mabilog, chairman of the Federation of Sangguniang Kabataan here as she pushed for the reformation and amendments of the youth council charter—not the abolition of the nationwide youth organization.
Among the reforms she cited is to raise age limits for council members from 15 to 17 and 18 to 21-year-olds to enable the members to grasp more the challenges of local governance.
Discounting the political incapacity of some members, the youth council is an effective training ground for young leaders who will eventually take over the reins of government from their elders, Mabilog pointed out.
In this city, there are 180 baran-gays with the SK as a major component of the barangay council. The barangay youth council president sits as representative of the barangay youth in the village council and the SK with 8 representatives acts as the barangay youth arm.
Citywide, the SK federation is10,000 to 12,000-strong that focuses on the protection of minors and children.
Mabilog said the SK spearheads development advocacy projects such as anti-drugs, capability building, green brigade and tree planting and trainings for the youth to take over the governance command.
Mabilog is responsible for the passage of city ordinances such as no use of cellphone while driving, no drinking of liquor along city streets from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., and as co-sponsor on the award of cinema passes to senior citizens.
Decide fate of SK
Admitting that the political party in power does not have a stand yet on the fate of the Sangguniang Kabataan, Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. of the fifth district of Iloilo pointed out that the Liberal Party will spearhead and dictate the fate of youth councils once Congress convenes later this month.
Tupas Liberal Party secretary general, said there is a total of 110 LP congressmen now and the congressmen will have to meet and discuss the burgeoning issue on August after President Benigno Aquino’s 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) later this month.
“Every generation has an improvement and the youth should be given more opportunity to serve and actively participate in the government,” Tupas said.
Without a collective party stand, it is hard to amend the SK law or reformat its mechanism as the SK rose to become a training ground for youth participation in nation building, the Iloilo solon pointed out.
On the other hand, Sen. Bam Aquino, in this city over the weekend, said he is not for SK abolition but definitely for reformation as there are certain SK aspects that need to be changed and reformed.
Among these are the age limits from 15 to 17 and 18 to 21 years old and the manner of SK elections as a youth organization.
Aquino reiterated that the synchronized barangay and SK elections on October 28, 2013 will have to go on while the changes or reformation of the SK charter will have to be taken up in time for the 2016 elections.
Lydia C. Pendon