Sen. Bam Aquino called on the government to leave no stone unturned to ensure that the long-overdue barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will be held as scheduled in May 2018.
“The imminent postponement of the barangay and SK elections next month will give our election officials and other stakeholders an additional eight months to prepare and iron out all the kinks,” said Sen. Bam.
‘This election is long overdue kaya dapat tiyakin ng ating mga opisyal na ito’y matutuloy na sa susunod na taon. Wala nang maaari pang gamiting dahilan dahil may sapat silang panahon para plantsahin ang lahat ng gusot,” added Sen. Bam.
The measure seeking to postpone the barangay and SK elections was recently approved by the House and Senate. There will be no bicameral conference committee as the House adopted the Senate version of the measure on Monday. The Senate version calls for the postponement to May 2018 and the holdover of current officials until the elections.
At the same time, Sen. Bam urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other private stakeholders to help encourage the youth to participate in the 2018 SK elections to give them a chance to work for the welfare of their sector.
“Kailangan nating kumbinsihin ang ating mga kabataan na lumahok sa nakatakang SK elections sa susunod na taon upang mabigyan sila ng pagkakataong makapag-ambag para sa kanilang kapakanan at sa pagpapalakas ng komunidad,” explained Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam said the 2018 SK elections must push through to check if Republic Act 10742 or the SK Reform Act will initiate reform in the SK and make it more responsive to the needs of the country’s youth and the development of the next generation of leaders.
The law, which Sen. Bam pushed as co-author and co-sponsor during his time as chairman of the Committee on Youth in the 16th Congress, law adjusts age limit of SK officials from 15-17 to 18-24 years old, making them legally capable of entering into contracts and be held accountable and liable for their actions.
The SK Reform Act also requires SK officials to undergo leadership training programs to expose them to the best practices in governance and guide their development as leaders.
The new law also mandates the creation of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC), a council that will support the SK and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations.
The LYDC will be composed of representatives from the different youth organizations in the community – student councils, church and youth faith groups, youth-serving organizations, and community-based youth groups.