Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed openness Thursday to the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled next month pending the enactment of a law reforming it.
“I am open to a possible postponement of the SK elections as long as it will be under an SK reform law. If we hold the elections as scheduled, we will be holding it under the same old SK system that I and the other senators are fighting to reform. So all these discussions and moves to reform the SK will be useless,” Marcos said in a press statement.
The SK elections is scheduled to be held on Feb. 21, 2015.
Marcos, chairman of the committee on local government, said both the Senate and House of Representatives are working overtime to put the reforms in place.
“Elections can wait. I did not compromise at all on the SK reform. For me, this is non-negotiable. That is why my position is precisely, we can talk of any date of SK election as long as it will be under a new SK Reform Law,” he said.
He said holding the SK elections without the reforms passed will render all efforts made by legislators useless.
Marcos is set to conduct a hearing Friday on House Bill 5209 that seeks to defer anew the SK elections. The SK polls was originally scheduled in October 2013 but was postponed to February 21, 2015.
Invited in the hearing are Interior Undersecretary Austere Panadero; Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr; Mindoro Oriental Gov. Alfonso V. Umali, national president of League of Provinces of the Philippines; Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, national president of League of Cities of the Philippines; Leyte Mayor Leonardo M. Javier Jr., national president of League of Municipalities of the Philippines; Edmund Abesamis, national president of Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas; and Gio Tingson, chairman of the National Youth Commission.
The senator said giving Congress more time to study and reconcile the different versions of SK reform bill would result to a better law that would benefit the Filipino youth in the long run.
He added the postponement will allow the Comelec to fully prepare for it.
Marcos said he does not want to scrap the SK as it would deprive the youth the chance and opportunities to be heard and participate in nation-building. He believed the age range for SK should be 18 to 24 to give them a more mature perspective on their roles and responsibilities.
Marcos also wanted to give the SK fiscal autonomy, while limiting the use of SK funds only to youth development and empowerment purposes only; creating in every local government unit a Local Youth Development Council composed of at most two representatives from SK and other accredited youth groups and providing a mandatory training program for youth leaders.