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Sk Debate

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The Great SK Debate: Do we really need the Sangguniang Kabataan?

Allegations of corruption by inefficient, ineffective, and non-performing Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials have caused mounting calls for its abolition from various sectors and officials, including no less than President Benigno Aquino, Jr. himself, and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo. Ironically, the very author of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code (LGC) which created the SK in 1991, is also pushing for SK’s demise. Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, on his last term, filed a bill proposing its abolition. Former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla filed a similar bill in 2004. But the SK National Federation (NF) and the SK Reform Coalition are not taking this sitting down, making a last-ditch effort to salvage what’s left of the youth organization. SKNF president Jane Censoria Cajes, for instance, has been doing the rounds of TV shows, defending SK. SK Reform Coalition convenor Marlon Cornelio also sought a dialogue with Sec. Robredo. Fortunately for the SK community, the dialogue resulted to a change in Robredo’s stand, from that of abolition to reform. During the meeting last Tuesday, Robredo and the SK Reform Coalition have agreed on the necessary reforms that should be undertaken. As of presstime, the barangay and SK elections in October will push through, but Cornelio says DILG hopes to have its proposal on reducing the number of SK officials from eight (one chairman and seven kagawad), to only one youth representative, approved in time for the elections. PIONEERING

The Philippines is so far, the only country in the world which has given its youth the opportunity to take a participative role in government through the SK. An offshoot of the Kabataang Barangay of the ‘70s, the SK is a governing body where youth, aged 15 to 18 years old, may register to vote and be voted in the SK. The SK chairman gets a salary while the seven councilors...

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