A bill seeking to postpone the scheduled Sanggunian Kabataan (SK) elections has been filed at the Senate amid the massive preparation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the scheduled polls which is synchronized with the Barangay election this October.
Senator Ferndinand Marcos Jr., filed Senate bill 1186 or an “An Act to Postpone the Sangguniang Kabataan Elections on October 28, 2013, Amending for the Purpose Section 1 of Republic Act 9340, and for other Purposes,” which in effect extends the term of all incumbent SK officials up to October 2016.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government, wants the SK polls suspended in order to give way for congress to introduce reforms on the system in order to make the youth council more effective in addressing the needs of its sector.
The lawmaker pointed out that the SK has become almost meaningless and unless reforms are introduced in the structure, accountability, and other aspect of governance of the present system it will continue to deteriorate.
According to him the present structure has lost its effectiveness in advancing democratic ideals of service-oriented leadership.
SK officials have become so politicized and susceptible to dishonest practices in handling public funds that are entrusted to them for the projects and programs intended for the welfare of their constituents.
The Comelec even called for its abolition saying that SK has been used by corrupt local government officials to the point of teaching the youth the ways of systematic corruption.
But some members of the Senate are not open to the proposal to scrap SK and maintained that the system only needs some tweaking.
Senator Teofisto Guingona 3rd,said the issues being faced by the SK could be addressed by introducing amendments to the law like increasing the age of SK from 15-years-old to 18-years-old,, limiting the terms of SK officers and establishing a monitoring system that will effectively oversee the collection and disbursement of funds.
SK is receiving 10 percent from the internal revenue allotment (IRA) given to barangays.
To address the dynasty issue, the senator said, an anti-dynasty provision should be introduced in the law.
For Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, SK should not be abolished just because of some of its elected officials were found ineffective.
Aquino maintained the not all SK officials are considered useless, in fact, there are many who have been very doing their mandate properly and has played a vital role in keeping the members of their sector away from trouble.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, on the other hand said that the key in addressing the SK issues is the introduction of reforms that would help breed better quality leaders from the country’s youth.
Abolishing SK would deprive the youth of a venue for trainings and giving them the chance to come up with programs beneficial to the community.
Under Marcos’ proposal, incumbent SK officers who were elected in 2010 will remain in office on holdover capacity unless sooner removed or suspended for cause until their successors shall have been elected and qualified.
Likewise, all SK officials who are ex-officio members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Panglungsod, or Sangguniang Panlalawigan, as the case maybe, shall continue to serve as such until the next SK elections. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA