MANILA, Philippines – The National Youth Commission (NYC) on Sunday, August 28, expressed alarm over the statements of legislators asking for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).
The removal of the youth council which is “a unique feature of Philippine democracy,” according to NYC Chairperson Aiza Seguerra, will “disenfranchise the Filipino youth.”
“It is the most concrete expression of the constitutional mandate that encourages civic engagement among young people,” Seguerra said. “The SK is the embodiment of our faith in the capacity of the youth to contribute meaningfully in transforming their communities and in the process cultivating their leadership skills. Let us not deprive them of that.”
“To abolish it is tantamount to depriving the youth of their voice in local governance,” the NYC chairperson added.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, on Saturday, August 27, said that he wants to abolish the SK, together with barangay (village) councilors, as “they are being paid by the barangay without doing anything.” (READ: Alvarez wants to abolish SK, barangay councilors)
Critics have long considered the SK or the Youth Council a “breeding ground” of corrupt practices.
In order to curb the problem, Republic Act (RA) 10742 or the SK Reform Act was signed into law last January by former president Benigno Aquino III.
One of the major points of the SK Reform Act is the anti-dynasty provision which prohibits relatives of incumbent officials – up to the second level of affinity and consanguinity – to hold an SK position.
In addition, the law states that SK officials need to be 18 to 24 years old from the previous requirement of 15 to 17 years old.
They are also required to undergo good governance and fiscal transparency training.
The new development, according to Seguerra, ensures the important role of the SK in the grassroots level as an “effective and efficient governance mechanism specially for social development and on the war on drugs.”
“By providing this venue for young people to participate in governance, we are investing in the next generation of effective local and national leaders,” the NYC chairperson explained.
“With the SK, the state is telling young people that ‘you are not mere beneficiaries, you are our partners.'” – Rappler.com