Aquino signs law postponing SK elections
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III last Thursday enacted a law postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections originally scheduled on Oct. 28 to allow Congress to reform the youth council.
The law sets Oct. 28, 2014, and Feb. 23, 2015, as the period within which the Commission on Elections (Comelec) could set the date for the SK elections.
The signing came more than a week after the Senate and the House of Representatives reconciled their versions of the bill, and ratified the bicameral committee report on this in plenary.
Originally scheduled to be held on Oct. 28, simultaneously with the barangay elections, the SK elections were put off to allow Congress to introduce reforms in the much politicized and even “graft-tainted” youth council.
Lawmakers, meeting in the bicameral conference committee, adopted a provision prohibiting current SK officials from keeping their posts in a holdover capacity after their term expires at noon of Nov. 30.
They made clear that no appointment would be made to fill the vacancies.
Lawmakers, however, acknowledged that by agreeing to set the SK elections after a year, they also recognized the need for youth representation in the government.
None of the lawmakers proposed abolishing the SK.
“We didn’t want to wait for 2016 (barangay elections) … It’s not good if there is no youth representation for three years. That’s why we said discussions on the reforms should be rushed so that new system will be put in place,” said Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who sponsored the Senate version.
The senators and representatives also agreed to introduce a provision allowing the barangay council to use a portion of the SK fund for youth development program.
Under an existing law, the SK is entitled to a 10-percent share of the barangay’s internal revenue allotment (IRA).
It will be the lookout of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to monitor the use of the fund for its intended purpose, Marcos said.
The Republic Act, a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1186 and House Bill No. 2849, has yet to be numbered.
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