By Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon.com
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate committee on local government has approved a bill that will postpone the Sangguniang Kabataan elections next month and synchronize this with the barangay elections scheduled in October 2016.
Committee chairman Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said the consensus of stakeholders who attended the panel’s hearing Friday morning for to postpone the elections for the youth councils to allow preparations for the passage of a bill to reform the SK system, which is pending in both chambers of Congress.
"Yes, on the committee level, we have agreed to postpone the election until October 2016," Marcos said at a brief press conference after the hearing.
“We practically adopted (at the committee) the House version, kasi very straightforward naman ang sa House (because it is very straightforward). The House passed only the postponement ... (it's) very simple, there are no other issues involved,” Marcos said.
Earlier, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the postponement of the February SK polls was one of the measures they intend to pass within the first quarters.
Another urgent measure is the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Other “must-pass” measures Drilon said the Senate intends to approve before the end of the 16th Congress’ second regular session in June are amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law, the Fair Competition Act, Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives Act, the rationalization of mining revenues, the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, and the Charter of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Marcos said reforming the SK would entail “substantial” changes.
“Let me put it this way, we are anticipating that there are many big changes in the system of youth representation in government. In fact, the SK, the name will probably be changed because we are involving other entities in the youth movement, in youth representation in government,” he explained.
He said any major structural modification would necessitate changing the system of electing youth representatives as well.
Marcos said the postponement of the SK elections is needed to allow agencies such as the Commission on Elections, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Youth Commission and Liga ng mga Barangay more time to prepare for the SK reform bill, which is a separate measure.
“We conducted this hearing upang tuloy-tuloy ang miyembro ng House at Senate para sa pagpasa ng (so the members of the House and Senate can continue working on the passage of the) SK reform bill,” Marcos said.