By Butch Fernandez | Business Mirror
DURING the SK Island Congress late last week, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government and author of the bill creating the National Youth Commission, expressed his support to the youth leaders.
He said he prefers to enhance and empower the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) rather than abolish the institution.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government proposed the abolition of SK, contending that the welfare of the youth can still be advanced and protected without the SK and that the existing government programs to improve the country’s educational system is sufficient to ensure a better future for the youth.
Other arguments raised for the SK’s abolition include:
Marcos, however, sees the need for strengthening SK rather than abolishing it.
“I stand for the reform of the Sangguniang Kabataan rather than its abolition. Youth participation is encouraged in Section 13, Article 2 of the Constitution, which provides that, ‘the State recognizes the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs’. Clearly, abolition will deprive the youth of their right to participate in nation-building that is enshrined in our Constitution,” he said.
“The SK should be strengthened rather than be abolished, because it represents an investment in the nation’s future. It still functions as it was designed. It was designed to bring young people in the government, to get them involved early in their lives in government. It gives young people a chance to have a voice so the government can hear their concerns and new ideas. Those are what the SK have been doing. Perhaps it has not been perfect, but it does not mean that it should be abolished. It should be made better and it should be made stronger,” he added.
At the end of his keynote speech, Marcos challenged the youth to show the people that they deserve to be given the opportunity to shape the future of our country. “In the end, it is you who must convince those of us in the national government and our people as a whole that you can make a big difference in our nation,” he said.