During the SK Island Congress last June 2, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government and author of the bill creating the National Youth Commission, expressed his support to the youth leaders of this country. He said that he prefers to enhance and empower the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) rather than abolish the institution.
The Department of Interior and Local Government proposed the abolition of SK contending that the welfare of the youth can still be advanced and protected without the SK and that the existing government programs to improve the country’s educational system is sufficient to ensure a better future for the youth. Other arguments are as follows: SK is a colossal waste of money and should be done away with to avoid loss of public funds; SK is a breeding ground for corruption; and that SK is unncessary as the youth will have difficulty of balancing their scholastic undertaking and political career.
Senator Marcos, however, sees the need for strengthening SK rather than abolishing it. “I stand for the reform of the Sangguniang Kabataan rather than the abolition. Youth participation is encouraged in Sec. 13, Article 2 of the Philippine Constitution, which states that ‘the State recognizes the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs’. Clearly, abolition will deprive the youth of their right to participate in nation building that is enshrined in our Constitution,” he said.
“The SK should be strengthened rather than be abolished, because they represent an investment in the nation’s future. It still functions as it was designed. It was designed to bring young people in the government, to get them involved early in their lives in government. It gives young people be given a chance to have a voice so the government can hear their concerns and new ideas. Those are what they SK have been doing. Perhaps it has not been perfect, but it does not mean that it should be abolished. It should be made better and it should be made stronger,” he added.
At the end of his keynote speech, Senator Marcos challenged the youth to show the people that they deserve to be given the opportunity to shape the future of our country. “In the end, it is you who must convince those of us in the national government and our people as a whole that you can make a bog difference in our nation,” he said.
Cong. Anton Lagdmeo and SK National Federation President Luis Gabriel del Rosario handed Sen. Marcos the certificate of appreciation for gracing the event.