The Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), an institution unique to and a pride for Filipinos in terms of youth participation in governance, has been a subject of critical scrutiny and heated debates among our legislatures – whether to abolish or reform.
SK is seen as a breeding ground for corrupt practices and has been non-performing or has insignificant contribution to the community. Due to these observations, there had been moves to abolish SK. Yet, others believe that abolishing SK is not the solution to these problems, but rather through reforming and strengthening it as the institution where the Filipino youth have a direct access and participation in governance down to the grassroots level.
Gladly, with vigilant and steadfast struggle to push for SK Reform, moves for SK abolition were prevented. Akbayan Representatives Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao together with Akbayan Youth, SK Reform Coalition and National Youth Commission have been in the front line in pushing for the SK Reform and Empowerment bill in Congress.
Akbayan Youth believes that SK should be continuously developed to suit with the changing social conditions of the youth, and primarily to continually provide an avenue for greater and meaningful youth participation in local governance. This is achievable only through reforming and strengthening SK, making it a more relevant and principled institution for young people.
So far, agreements have been reached by the Reform and Abolition blocs on the reforms on the mandate of SK that will be implemented.Currently, the House Committee on Local Governance created a technical working group (TWG), composed of all SK-related bill authors, that will consolidate provisions for reforming SK.
Akbayan Youth, along with the SK Reform Coalition, and other youth institutions, actively take part in the technical working group, to constructively engage in the process of reforming SK and ensure that the reform measures are geared towards ensuring greater and meaningful youth participation in the country. Akbayan! Youth calls on other stakeholders to remain vigilant and to actively engage this process. ###
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