THE Senate committee on local government on Friday adopted a House measure postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled in February to give more time for Congress to enact a law that would reform the youth council system.
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made the announcement after the committee conducted a hearing on House Bill No.5209 that seeks to postpone the Sangguniang Kabataan polls to October 2016.
“We practically adopted the House version since it is only for the postponement, very simple, there is no other issue involved,” Marcos said.
The committee hearing on HB 5209 was done to get the position of stakeholders on the SK postponement and determine if there is necessity to move the polls to another date.
At the hearing, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cited several reasons why Congress should postpone the SK elections.
Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes said holding the elections now without first reforming the youth council system would be a useless expense on the part of the government, which will spend between P900 million and P1.1 billion for the youth polls.
Holding the SK elections next month, Brillantes added, would also delay the ongoing voters registration for the 2016 presidential elections because the Comelec will be forced to suspend the process and focus on the youth council elections.
According to Brillantes, the Comelec will be implementing the biometric system in 2016, but there are at least 1.6 million registered voters who need to register anew.
With the approval of the measure on the committee level, Marcos is expected to introduce the bill next week for plenary approval.
Marcos said big changes in the youth representation in government is expected, including the change of name of the SK because of the involvement of other entities in youth representation.
“Let me emphasized that the postponement is merely a side issue. The SK reform is the main concern,” he noted. Jefferson Antiporda