Both houses of Congress have only one year to finalize much-needed reforms in the country’s youth representation system, according to Senator Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.
A bicameral conference committee, held on Tuesday morning, approved the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections for one year without holdover. Both houses of Congress also agreed to hold the next polls between Oct. 28, 2014 and February 23, 2015.
“With the postponement, we have a virtual deadline of one year to hold in-depth consultations with our youth constituents, come up with innovative solutions, and agree on the necessary reforms that will make our youth leaders more empowered and effective,” Sen. Aquino said.
“The goal is to pass an SK reform bill and have it enacted into law before October 28, 2014,” the young lawmaker stressed.
According to Sen. Aquino, his office has been consulting with various youth groups and will lead stakeholder consultations on the issue. Earlier, he also talked about “crowdsourcing” SK reform legislation through online and offline channels.
SK Reform Bill
As part of his reform advocacy, the young senator filed Senate Bill No. 1090 or the “Liga ng Bayaning Kabataan (LBK)” Bill, to “overhaul the youth representation system and instill the true spirit of volunteerism on the youth, aside from taking it from clutches of partisan politics.”
The bill replaces the current form of the SK with a body composed of representatives of youth organizations.
The measure also calls for “bottom-up budgeting” and “end-to-end transparency, accountability, good governance, and community youth participation” for all LBK projects.
The senator said the bill is anchored on “the twin beliefs that youth organizations are a potent force in nation-building, and that the power of young Filipinos is strongest when they work with people who share their values and goals, and in an environment of teamwork and collaboration.”