The Senate passed on third and final reading a bill postponing the elections for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) from February 21 this year to the last Monday of October 2016.
House Bill No. 5209 seeks to allot time for restructuring and reforms in the Sangguniang Kabataan.
“Elections can wait. Both chambers are working overtime to put reforms in place. Holding the SK elections without these reforms will render all efforts made by legislators useless,” Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., sponsor of the measure, said.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, stressed that the youth plays a significant role in community affairs, policy-making and public governance.
“The Sangguniang Kabataan must first be reformed and restructured in order to effectively represent the needs and concerns of the youth sector. We need to prepare the significant legislation that would institute meaningful, timely and viable reforms in the SK,” Marcos said.
To institute reforms in the SK, Marcos also authored Senate Bill No. 2401, the Youth Development and Empowerment Act of 2014, which seeks to amend the age of SK officials from 15 to 17 years old to 18 to 24 years old. The bill also seeks to provide trainings to professionalize and make the elected SK members aware of the responsibilities they face and enforce anti-dynasty measures down to the barangay level.
“It is urgent and important that we reform the SK as a platform for engaging the youth in the grassroots level, and where the youth will be honed to become better and more effective public servants in the future,” Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, chair of the Senate Committee on Youth, said.
“We can talk of any date of SK election as long as it will be under a new SK Reform Law,” Marcos said.