Youth groups SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) Reform Coalition, the National Youth Commission (NYC), Akbayan Youth and the National Anti-Poverty Commission renewed their call on Congress to pass the SK Reform bill before the 2016 elections.
The groups said reconsolidating advocates for SK Reform is crucial in the final leg of pushing for the passage of the measure.
On September 9, the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform and Empowerment Bill was passed on third reading at the House of Representatives. This means that the bill will now go to the bicameral conference committee.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Bam Aquino in the Senate and Representatives Barry Gutierrez of Akbayan and Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands in the House, aims to introduce reforms the youth institution.
Norman Cualteros, an aide of Aquino, said the senator envisions the SK to be organization-based.
There had been proposals to abolish the SK.
Bag-ao said debates on the abolition of the youth council were heated but those who were for the scrapping of SK did not prevail.
She said the bill will provide leadership trainings for the youth.
Among the salient provisions of the measure is the raising of the eligible age bracket for those who wish to run for SK offices from 15 to 17 years old to 18 to 21.
The age bracket of SK voters will likewise be expanded from 15 to 21.
Also, youth officials should not have any relative in elective public office within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.
Under Section 423, there shall be in every barangay a sangguniang kabataan to be composed of a chairman or chairperson, seven members, a secretary and a treasurer.
All Sangguniang Kabataan officias should undergo mandatory trainings and seminars on leadership and program development.