By Marlon Purificacion | People's Journal
TO prevent youth leaders from being corrupted by traditional politics, the Senate is looking at various suggestions including a radical move do away with the involvement of the Sangguniang Kabataan in the handling of public funds.
This developed as Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., chair of the Senate local government committee, conducted on Monday the initial hearing on pending measures aimed at reforming the SK.
Senator Marcos, who authored the bill postponing the SK polls that Congress passed, earlier, vowed to buckle down to work immediately to craft an SK reform measure within a year.
”Since the SK leaders have a vote on matters that could involve huge amounts of public funds, they are vulnerable to influence of corrupt politicians or unscrupulous contractors,” Marcos said.
According to the Local Government Code, 10 percent of the total Internal Revenue Allotment should go to the barangay SK. This year a total of P6.1 billion should go to the SK in 42,000 barangays nationwide.
Another suggestion, coming from Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, former chair of the Kabataang Barangay—the precursor of SK—is to restore the spirit of volunteerism to the SK and to make it a training ground for the youth to be responsible leaders and citizens of the country.
”Ang akin ibalik sana ang volunterism sa ating kabataan. Walang sahod, walang bayad, walang social fund, at walang pakikilahok sa mga bank at sa mga kontrata. Ang ibigay na lamang scholarship, Philhealth, death benefits—katulad nung aming tinatanggap noon, wala nang iba,” Gov. Imee Marcos said.
The committee is also studying proposals to peg the age of SK members to either 18-25, 15-25, 18-30 or 15-30 instead of the current 15-17.
With the major areas for SK reforms already discussed in the first hearing, Senator Marcos said the committee will likely conduct one more hearing and then refer the findings to a technical working group to incorporate the findings and proposals into the SK reform measure.