• Senate ratifies bicameral report on SK reform bill

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    THE SENATE on Wednesday ratified a bicameral conference committee report on the proposed Sangguniang Kabatan (SK) reform law that will not only enhance youth participation in governance but also protect the barangay youth councils against the establishment of political dynasty.

    Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said the strong anti-dynasty provision under section 10 is one of the salient features of the proposed law.

    Section 10 of the bill states that SK officials “must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected.”

    The measure also seeks to organize in every barangay the Katipunan ng Kabataan composed of youth aged 15 to 30 who shall elect the SK officials who are at least 18 but not more than 24 years of age for a fixed three-year term of office, unless sooner removed for a cause.

    “I changed the current 15-17 age range because they are ineligible to sign contracts. In the first place, the youth under Republic Act 8044 refers to persons whose ages range from 15 to 30 years old,” said Marcos, one of the co-authors of the bill.

    Another reform introduced by Marcos and adopted by the bicam panel is the capability and orientation towards nation building through mandatory and continuing training program for SK officials, elected and appointed, and members of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC) to mold them to become better citizens with the values of patriotism, nationalism and honor as a Filipino.

    The bicameral conference report was approved by 16 senators on Wednesday. The committee report needs to be signed by Senate and House of Representatives officials, then it will be sent to President Benigno Aquino 3rd for signature to become a law.

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