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Senate to decide on fate of SK polls next week

Photo grab from Ferdinand "Bong Bong" Marcos' Facebook account

Photo grab from Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos’ Facebook account

The Senate attempts to make a decision next week whether or not to seek the postponement of the election of new sets of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials in the scheduled synchronized Oct. 28 barangay-SK elections throughout the country.

This came as the Senate resumes on Monday floor debates on the local government committee report of Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that the SK election should be postponed for at least one year until after Congress has put up structural reforms in the SK organization.

‘’In view of the imperative need to give Congress ample time to intently deliberate on the issues at hand and come up with a substantial and significant legislation that will institute meaningful, systematic and feasible reforms to the SK, this representation respectfully appeals to this august chamber to join me in approving committee report No. 1 which proposes postponement of the scheduled SK elections this Oct. 28th of October, 2013,’’ Marcos said.

After coming out in favor of abolishing the SK because if breeds corruption and promotes political dynasties, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes said he favors the postponement of the SK election.

Brillantes earlier told senators that Comelec has already made preparations for the barangay elections.

Sen. Joseph Victor ‘’JV’’ G. Ejercito threw his support behind the Marcos committee’s move to reform SK’s ‘’flawed system.’’

‘’This was also the consensus during the Senate (local government) committee hearing last Tuesday. Those who agreed for the postponement including representatives of the SK Federation, National Youth Commission, League of Cities of the Philippines and the League of Provinces of the Philippines,’’ he said.

Ejercito said the postponement ‘’is a way to implement reforms and improve the SK.’’

The first SK election was held in 1992.

The Senate floor debate on the Marcos committee report started last Wednesday with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon interpellating Marcos.

The Senate resumes debate on the SK issue on Monday after a four-day break that began last Thursday.

In the debate, Marcos observed that the SK is not effective as envisioned in advancing the democratic ideals of service-oriented youth leadership.

‘’Also, some of the SK leaders and members have in fact been observed to become highly politicized, and worse, have been seen to engage in dishonest and corrupt practices in the handling of public funds, particularly those allotted to the different projects and programs intended for the welfare of the youth,’’ he pointed out.

Marcos cited the misgivings of former Senate President Aquilio Q. Pimentel Jr., author of the Local Government Code of 1991, as to how the SK system had developed through the years.

‘’Sadly, this regrettable scenario led to the negative image of our Filipino youth leaders. The role in public service to which our young leaders are being groomed to assume, has sometimes been replaced with distorted, selfish and crooked perception of public service among the young leaders of the country,’’ he pointed out.

Marcos said that it is the unanimous opinion of his committee that the SK organization must be reformed so that it could represent in government ‘’the needs and concerns of our rapidly growing youth sector and to be the breeding ground for upright, decent, trustworthy and diligent young leaders of the country.’’

He cited the reasons of the different sectors why the SK election should be postponed. These are:

National Youth Commission states that there is need to reinvent the SK mandate ‘’with emphasis on the SK’s role in effective representation, full accountability and transparency in its undertakings.’’

The League of Cities believes that it is necessary to transform and improve the SK in order to curb corruption among the youth.

The SK National Federation admits that the SK system has developed many flaws through the years of its existence.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) cited the need to postpone the SK elections ‘’to pave the way to its restructuring and reforms.’’

Marcos said that some of the criticisms against the SK are as follows:

  • SK members are ineffective, not mature enough or unprepared to take on leadership roles.
  • SK activities are limited to ‘’pa-liga’’ or sports-related projects only.
  • Many SKs have become ‘’absentee officials.’’
  • SK members 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.
  • SK serves as a breeding ground for errant, corrupt and ‘traditional politicians’ (tradpols)  or trapo youth leaders