By Gerry Baldo and PNA | The Daily Tribune
The Senate and the House of Representatives yesterday ratified the bicameral conference committee report postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled on Oct. 28 to a date between Oct. 28, 2014 and Feb. 23, 2015.
It is considered as "enrolled" bill and only needs the signature of President Aquino in order to make the bill a law.
In the bicameral conference committee report, all incumbent SK officials together with ex-officio members of the Sanguniang Panlalawigan, Sanguniang Panglungsod and Sanguiniang Pambayan shall not remain in office after the expiration of their term at noon of Nov. 30, 2013.
The next SK election is to be determined by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) between Oct. 28, 2014 and Feb. 23, 2015.
The SK position shall remain vacant until the new set of officials shall have been duly elected and qualified and no appointments shall be made to the vacated positions.
The Senate and the House of Representatives panels have consolidated their versions and came out with one proposed measure.
The Comelec and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall promulgate implementing rules and regulations necessary within 30 days after its effectivity to implement the law.
All laws, presidential decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly as this act shall take effect immediately after its publication in the official Gazette or in at least two newspapers of general circulation.
“The bicam postpones SK election between Oct. 28, 2014 and Feb. 23, 2015. (It’s up to) the (Commission on Elections) to determine the date,” Quezon City Rep. Winston Castello, a member of the House contingent to the bicameral committee on the proposal.
Castelo said that the bicameral-approved version of the measure contains “no hold-over” provision, meaning that the SK officials shall not be allowed to assume office after their term expires on Nov. 30.
“Barangay is going to use 10 percent SK fund for youth development programs in the interim,” Castelo said, adding that Congress will also file a measure seeking to “reform the SK.”
The approval by the bicameral committee report came just barely a month before the holding of the SK polls on Oct. 28.
Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, one of the principal authors of the bill, said that the postponement of the SK polls is a positive step toward the reforms needed in the barangay-based youth organization.
“This only shows that our lawmakers are determined to change the present system of youth participation in governance while a consensus has not yet been made on whether to reform the SK or to totally abolish it,” Erice said.
Erice, senior member of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms and the principal author of House Bill 1122 which aims to abolish the SK as an institution, said claimed that the SK has been used as an instrument of dirty politics.
Erice, a former SK federation president in Caloocan City, maintained that corruption has already tainted the youth organization.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said that the postponement of the SK polls is part of the reforms that is being pursued by the Aquino administration.