Sen. Marcos sponsors first committee report in the Senate under 16th Congress, seeks okay of bill to scrap SK polls

5 September 2013

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., has urged his colleagues in the Senate to approve Senate Bill No. 1186, which he had filed, aimed at scrapping the Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled on October this year.

In a sponsorship speech on Tuesday (Sept. 4, 2013), Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, presented on the floor Committee Report No. 1 containing justifications to approve the bill established during his panel’s public hearing last September 3.

“Your Committee on Local Government, after seriously considering the many appeals for reforms of the Sangguniang Kabataan, hereby strongly recommends the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled on 28th of October this year,” Marcos said. The report is the first in the 16th Congress.

While expressing belief that the postponement is necessary to give Congress reasonable time to craft legislation that would institute the necessary reforms of the present structure of the SK, the senator clarified that he is not for the abolition of the SK, although he supports calls for its restructuring.

Marcos noted that during the hearing of his committee there was unanimous support for the postponement of the SK polls from the various stakeholders.

Among those who backed the passage of SB 1186 included the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the National Youth Commission (NYC), the Sangguniang Kabataan National Federation, and the League of Cities.

He said that the SKNF itself has admitted that the SK system has developed many flaws over the years, which generated criticisms against it.

Among the criticisms are:

1. That the members of SK are ineffective, not mature enough, or are unprepared to take on leadership roles;

2. That the activities of the SK are limited to “pa-liga” or sports related projects only;

3. That many of the SK have become “absentee officials”; and

4. That the members of the SK only engage in local politics and do not serve the interests of the Filipino youth, nor do they address the needs of the younger population; 5. That the SK serves as a breeding ground for errant, corrupt, and “traditional politicians” or “trapo” youth leaders.

“My colleagues in this august body, the proximity of the scheduled elections requires us to act promptly on this legislative proposal for the immediate guidance and implementation of all stakeholders, especially the Commission on Elections, which is now in an advanced stage of its preparations for the October 28 elections,” Marcos said.

He said that it was the consensus of committee members that the postponement of the SK polls should not last more than one year, during which the SK Reform Bill will be crafted and deliberated upon by Congress.

However, the senator said it might be better to let the schedule of the new SK elections be embodied in the SK Reform Bill.