By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today
Both chambers on Tuesday ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposal to defer next month’s Sangguniang Kabataan elections to a date between Oct. 28, 2014 and Feb. 23, 2015.
In the upper house, 20 senators in the plenary had one opposing the bill and another abstaining.
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the Senate and the House of Representatives’ decision to leave SK positions vacant after the poll postponement amounted to dumping the youth council.
“We are, in effect, abolishing the SK for one year,” he said.
At the Batasan, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castello said the ratification was expected.
“The bicam postpones SK election between October 28, 2014 to February 23, 2015. [It’s up to] the [Commission on Elections] to determine the date,” he said.
Castelo said the bicameral-approved version had a “no holdover” provision, meaning that the SK officials will be barred from office after their term expires on Nov. 30, 2013.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano abstained, saying the council should be 100 percent reformed.
“We do not want to wait until 2016. What we were saying is why are we going to prolong a system that we don’t like. It’s not good that there is no representation from the youth for a long time, for three years. So we want to hasten the reorganization of SK so that we have a new system,” he said.
The bicameral panel led by Senator Bongbong Marcos, chairman of the senate local government committee, yielded to his counterpart’s no holdover provision.
He said both Houses also agreed to allow barangay officials to use SK funds while youth council posts are still vacant, as long as the allocations re meant for youth-related activities.
“That would be determined by the Sangguniang Barangay,” Marcos said.
The bicam report will be sent to Malacañang for the President’s approval. With Maricel V. Cruz