• We do not need the SK

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    If all goes according to plan, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will be held as scheduled later this year.

    Set for Oct. 28, we cannot imagine a bigger waste of public funds than this irrelevant electoral exercise.

    Ask any Filipino this simple question: What has the SK ever accomplished?
    Nine times out of 10, you will receive a blank stare. And in the one time out of the 10 where a reply is offered, the answer will most likely be a wild guess, a shot in the dark.

    This is because the SK never made much sense, in the first place. Created by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1975, the SK was just another tool of the dictatorship to reinforce its hold on power. Back then, it was known as the Kabataang Barangay (KB).

    Same dog, different collar. Even the name was intended as a foil to the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), the left-leaning organization that enticed high school and college students to join and do battle against the Marcos dictatorship.

    Worst, the predecessor of the SK prepared the Filipino youth to become active in politics just like their parents and grandparents. So what was wrong with this picture?

    Just this: At the height of martial law, all Philippine political activity was regulated. The country back then was little different from today’s North Korea. Media could only report “the true, the good and the beautiful” about the Marcoses, and Imee Marcos was the de facto ruler of the KB.

    Being born under such circumstances, what could become of such a useless layer of the bureaucracy?

    Answer: Nothing, absolutely nothing.

    Yet the KB survived (as the SK), despite being temporarily abolished during the early years of the Cory Aquino presidency, which re-established the country’s democratic institutions.
    Worst of all, precious funds will be wasted holding the elections, where the teenage scions of political dynasties will invariably be elected, after which even more funds will go to pot as operational expenses and compensation for the elected SK officials.

    Good intentions
    There is a saying that the road to ruin is paved with the best intentions. So it is with the SK.

    This political entity for young people was officially created in response to the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, which calls for a means by which the youth can represent their sector in the country’s body politic.

    But considering that about half of the Philippine population qualifies as “youth”, it can therefore be said that the elected members of the House of Representatives actually represent their constituency of young people.

    Further, youth organizations can very easily create their own party list and have one or more of their own elected in Congress.

    Any which way we look at it, the SK is a useless appendage. At best, it is a training ground for possible future leaders, but with no guarantee that they will not be corrupted by the country’s political system and all its inherent weaknesses.

    If anything, it would be better if our youth were to be shielded from partisan politics for as long as possible. Forcing our boys and girls in their mid-teens to take part in partisan elections does not do them any good. It would be far better for them to be made to join civic organizations instead.

    Neither here nor there
    That the SK elections are far from absolutely necessary can be gleaned from the fact that in the past, when the youth elections were reset, no one really cared.

    Unlike the national and mid-term elections for president, vice president, senators, governors, congressmen and mayors wherein the dates are permanently fixed by law, SK elections have been moved in the past with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes they were synchronized with barangay polls, other times they were not.

    Let us then ask ourselves, what happens if the entire SK bureaucracy were scrapped? What do we lose?

    Not only will we not lose anything, but the country stands to gain because of the huge savings incurred. The funds saved from the scrapping of the SK can be used for more worthwhile projects that generate employment or expand the essential services such as education or health care that redound to the good of all.

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