By Butch Enerio | Business Mirror
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY— Believing in the youth’s early political development and for them to become good leaders, the Senate Committee on Local Government has drafted a proposed bill that would pave the way for the continued participation of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) in local governance.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., committee chairman, said that instead of abolishing the SK, reforms must be instituted in the youth sector’s involvement in the affairs of the barangay.
Speaking before hundreds of high-school students at the Mindanao State University-Naawan campus in Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Marcos expressed his support to the retention of the SK, provided that its scope, structure and functions are overhauled.
“I think we should not forget that the youth is the prime receiver of whatever the adults are working on. We should not forget that they are important in society, thus they have the right to be heard,” Marcos said, adding that “by abolishing the SK is like depriving them of their voice.”
He said that the youth being the biggest sector in the country or even the world, today, their needs are different from the adults where some of those needs can only be addressed by the youth themselves.
“And, the youth, being the beneficiary of the hard work we are doing today, should be trained by adults to become good leaders in this country,” Marcos said.
It can be recalled that there are moves from the legislators who want to abolish the SK for good, however, Marcos believes that there are some inclusions in the SK that are unnecessary, hence, the need to modify the rules without abolishing it.
He said the proposed bill would put in place a Local Youth Development Council in cities, towns and provinces where it will be composed of members coming from the different sectors.
Marcos said the draft proposed bill suggests that different non-governmental organizations, associations, the out-of-school youth sector and other organizations become council members to help guide the youth in achieving good governance.
Marcos said that one of the proposals is to extend the SK’s participating age from 15 years old to 30 years old and that the initial budget be increased to P50 million.
The issue on the SK’s age bracket of 15 years old to 17 years old was deemed not logical for at these age, the SK members are more busy in school rather than being involved in local governance.
The suggestion for the abolition of the SK came when it was perceived that the elected SK officials were only exploited and manipulated by the politicians and were not working to address the concerns of the youth, aside from it is destroying the values of the youth.
On the other hand, Misamis Oriental Vice Gov. Joey Pelaez said that although he is for the continuance of the SK, it should only participatory in nature and not elected.
Pelaez said that the SK “has destroyed the values of the youth” and has become a training ground for corruption rather than in creating future leaders.
“If we should continue having the SK then it should only be a training ground for the youth, where they will learn governance and they should not be compensated or salaried, because it is the financial perks in the SK that attracts its elected officials.” Pelaez said.