Sen. Bam Pushes Passage of SK Reform Bill to Meet Election Deadline

Senator Bam Aquino urges colleagues to pass the measure seeking to reform the current Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), saying it will help shape the country’s youth to become better and more effective public servants in the future.

“It is urgent and important that we reform the Sangguniang Kabataan, as a platform for engaging the youth in the grassroots level, and where the youth will be honed to become better and more effective public servants in the future,” said Aquino.

 Aquino made the pronouncement during his co-sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 2401 or the Youth Development and Empowerment Act of 2014, where his ‘Liga ng Bayaning Kabataan (LBK)’ bill was consolidated.

Aquino pushed for the suspension of the SK elections last year so that needed reforms can be introduced, instead of having it abolished. 

He also actively worked for the passage of the measure in the committee level to meet the deadline by February 2015.

In his speech, Aquino stressed that as a country where half of the population are 15-30 years old, an enabling environment for the youth must be provided for them to participate in nation building.

“The Filipino youth have the innate energy, creativity and innovative ideas that would come up with new solutions to address the age-old problems of the country,” the senator stressed.

Aquino said the measure will harness the youth’s potential as a partner in the development of our country, encourage their active participation in programs and projects of communities and engage them in transparent and accountable governance.

Among the reforms being pushed by the measure is the expansion of age limit, creation of local youth development councils and to ensure more relevant SK programs and projects all over the country.

The measure proposes to expand the age range from 15 to 30 years old, in accordance to Republic Act 8044 or the Youth in Nation Building Act of 1994 and to peg the age of officers between ages 18 to 24.

“The reform in age range will enable a greater number of youth to participate and give officials more independence in their affairs, such as signing contracts, disbursing money and making them more accountable for their actions,” Aquino said.

The bill also pushes for the introduction of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC), a council that will support the Sangguniang Kabataan and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations.

The LYDC will compose 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.

The LYDC is now being implemented in several major cities such as Pasay, Naga and Cebu to encourage the youth to participate LGU-initiated projects.

“We are pushing for the enumeration of clear themes of the programs and projects that can be explored by the LYDC and the SK in formulating their Youth Development Plans, to weed out tokenistic projects for the sake of having programs for the youth,” the senator said.

Aquino hopes that the bill will clarify the relationships between the Sangguniang Kabataan, the National Youth Commission and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“By doing so, we ensure that the programs and policies that they will come up with will truly be relevant and impactful for the sector they are supposed to serve,” he said.


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