After the election of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials last May 14, 2018, elected SK officials will lead the welfare of the youth in the villages.
The SK election was held after almost eight years, since the last polls in October 2010, because of several postponements due to proposed revisions of SK law.
Elected by the Katipunang Kabataan (or registered voters aging 15 to 30 years), the barangay youth council consists of a chairperson and seven members. These officials, aged 18 to 24, will hold office for three years.
The Republic Act No. 10742, otherwise known as the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015, under section 2 stipulates, “The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and thus, promotes and protects their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being, inculcates in them patriotism, nationalism and other desirable values, and encourages their involvement in public and civic affairs. Towards this end, the State shall establish adequate, effective, responsive and enabling mechanisms and support systems that shall empower the youth and ensure their meaningful participation in local governance and in nation-building.”
Section 2 has stated the must-do of the SK officials for the empowerment of youth. It has also required the government body to support the SK’s role. For the past years, some Filipinos have evaluated and commented about the poor status quo of the SK organizational body. I may be one of those who commented that there is poor ruling of SK but I don’t blame the past SK officials alone. There must be stronger joint-committee of the SK body between the government units in a regular basis. The once in every six months assembly of the Katipunan ng Kabataan members with the SK is so ironic to reach the country’s goal stated in Section 2 of the SK Reform Act of 2015. Also, the usage of 10% of the barangay funds by SK is not guaranteed enough to supplement the different projects and programs for the youth.
The SK officials have benefits and privileges to equip themselves to lead and constitute youth concerns. These perks are: free tuition and fees in public tertiary schools, exemption from taking NSTP-CWTS but must submit reports on SK work, exemption from classes during SK meetings, Philhealth coverage, reimbursements for official travel expenses, and benefits of a barangay official for the SK chairperson. Thus, more efforts and actions for the youth must be seen from them.
The SK can be better this time lest the newly elected ones are aware of the past negativity of their position. If they knew it, they should prove that the comeback of SK is worth it.
We are now part of the so called millennial age. Thus, try to make a change and a difference.
We don’t just expect movements from the SK but may we support them. They need it.
I already attended some local government council and witnessed projects and programs of the different agencies but have not experienced a chance for the youths to interfere. Youth might be still at the stage of learning and training but they may have a vital part in the law making, enforcement and implementing.
I myself have many questions, suggestions and interest for both local and national government. Others may have too, but our chance to lay our views is neglected. I’m one of those who don’t like protests in public places. I think it is better to have formal meetings with any government concerns.
As a youth, I know these opportunities can be included in the KK and SK organizations. Authorities should not block the light rays of youth in the government and in the communities.
There are many issues in our country that SK and KK could be a part of the solution. Look at the corruption of officials, the anti-drugs act dispute among political parties, misleading of cultural identities, poor waste management and growing pollution, narrow highways and no parking spaces and a lot more concerns. Youth are not exempted in these issues. Again, be part of the solution. DEBORAH AQUINO, UC Intern