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SK Reform Act just waiting for PNoy’s signature

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/JMO (The Freeman) - October 9, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - After more than a year of deliberations, the bicameral conference committee in Congress has approved the bill that seeks to reform the current Sangguniang Kabataan system.

The proposed SK Reform Act will be enforced once President Benigno Aquino III signs the bill.

Among the landmark provisions of the bill is the anti-dynasty, the first enabling legislation against political dynasties in the country.

The anti-dynasty clause would bar relatives of elected and appointed officials, local or national, within second degree of consanguinity or affinity from sitting as SK officials.

“With its anti-dynasty provision, the SK Reform Act aims to implement genuine reform in the country’s electoral system when it comes to youth representation,” said Senator Bam Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Youth and co-author of the bill, in a statement.

Board Member Miguel Antonio Magpale who authored the ordinance creating the Provincial Youth Commission lauded the Congress for the development.

Magpale said he has since pushed for reforms in the SK system rather than its abolition.

“Some SK officials have also contributed so much to our society,” he said.

He said, though, that the anti-dynasty provision is two-pronged. It can weed out ineffective and abusive political dynasties, but it would also bar candidates who came from families of good political leaders and have performed their duties effectively from sitting as SK officials.

“The anti-dynasty provision will end the suffering of our people from abusive political dynasties but for good families who have been doing well, sayang pud,” he said.

Magpale is the son of Vice Governor Agnes Magpale.

Another important provision in the proposed law is the one that raises the age ceiling for would-be members of the youth council from the present 15 to 17 years old to 18 to 21 to make them legally capable of entering contracts and be held liable for their actions.

The measure also pushes for the institutionalization of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC) to ensure participation of more youth through youth organizations in harmonizing and strengthening youth programs and initiatives, fiscal autonomy so the SK fund would be regularly disbursed and used solely for youth development programs, and mandatory leadership training to fully capacitate the SK officials in the execution of their roles and duties.

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.

The SK gets 10 percent of the barangay’s general fund.

National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairman Gio Tingson lauded the development, saying it is a concrete delivery of legislators’ promise to introduce reforms for the youth.

“We have always recognized the role of the youth in electoral reform. Having this provision in place is an important step towards empowered and meaningful youth participation in governance,” he said in a statement published on the official Facebook Page of the NYC.

The NYC, being the sole policy-making body on youth affairs, has been pushing for the SK Reform bill. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC BOARD MEMBER MIGUEL ANTONIO MAGPALE CHAIRMAN GIO TINGSON FACEBOOK PAGE LOCAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL MAGPALE NATIONAL YOUTH COMMISSION PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO PROVINCIAL YOUTH COMMISSION REFORM ACT YOUTH
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