Sunstar – Senate, House ratify bicam report postponing SK elections

By CPT/HDT/Virgil Lopez/Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex | Sunstar

sunstar-manilaTHE Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday ratified the bicameral conference report postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled on October 28.

In the Senate, Only Senator Francis Escudero objected while Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano abstained.

The report, prepared by select members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, moved to hold the elections between October 28, 2014 and February 23, 2015. The specific date will be determined by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

There will be no holdovers.

“The joint panel specified that the Sangguniang Barangay must continue to use the SK funds only for youth development programs. That would be determined by the Sangguniang Barangay,” said Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairperson of the local government committee. The SK fund is 10 percent of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) fund given to barangays.

Marcos said members of panel were not pushing for the abolition of SK.

“I think lahat ng members of bicameral committee ay sumasang-ayon na kailangan talaga na may representasyon ang kabataan sa pamahalaan in whatever shape or form,” said Marcos, adding the postponement of the polls will give way to the introduction of reforms to the corruption-tainted SK.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said his office has been consulting with various youth groups and will lead stakeholder consultations on the proposed reforms. Earlier, he also talked about “crowdsourcing” SK reform legislation through online and offline channels.

The bill will be sent to President Benigno Aquino III for enactment.

Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon, one of the 12 lawmakers who opposed the postponement of the SK elections, challenged President Aquino to veto the SK elections postponement bill “if he has even an ounce of care left for the youth.”

The Comelec, which has been vocal in its desire to have the polls deferred, expressed happiness over the development.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said their focus now is to ensure the smooth conduct of the barangay elections.

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