• ‘The problem is these people get elected’

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    The chronic absenteeism of elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials tops the list of reasons why the SK and Local Government Units (LGUs) across the country are in favor of postponing the SK polls in October, a Cabinet official said Friday.

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    Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) made the announcement when the DILG presented its P135 billion proposed budget for 2014 before the House Appropriations panel.

    “The primary reason is absenteeism. The problem is these people get elected, but when they reach college, they study outside the place they are supposed to serve,” Roxas told House Appropriations panel.

    Further, Roxas cited that most of those who get elected are children of incumbent barangay officials, and that there are SK officials who cannot enter into contracts because they are not yet of legal age.

    SK officials are aged 15 to 18 years old.

    Having said that, Roxas disclosed that SK units and LGUs across the country are in favor of postponing the SK polls .

    “Based on our national consultations with various groups comprised of local executives, youth groups and SK, it was near unanimous that they want the postponement of the SK polls to give Congress ample time to strengthen the system, so that it won’t deter our political development,” Roxas pointed out.

    DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero confirmed Roxas’ announcement, saying that the LGUs, SK units and even student councils are united in their stand in postponing the SK polls because the existing scheme is far from perfect.

    “There is near unanimity that the system should be changed. The conclusion is that there needs to be performance evaluation for it to be vital in governance,” Panadero added.

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