The USC Supreme Student Council organized The Youth and the SK Reform Law and Elections Forum last June 28, 2016 at the Gansewinkel Hall, University of San Carlos – Downtown Campus. This was to inform the students about Sangguniang Kabataan and the recently-passed Reform Law to prepare them for the upcoming Sangguniang Kabataan elections come October 31, 2016.
The main proponent of the forum, SSC councilor Jamil Faisal Adiong first introduced SK Carolinian. This project, according to Hon. Adiong, “aims to answer the call from the government in empowering the youth to participate in the upcoming Sangguniang Kabataan elections.” Hence, SK Carolinian, with its tagline: “informing and involving the Carolinians and the Filipino youth in the Sangguniang Kabataan.”
Sangguniang Kabataan was put on hold in 2013. Aside from issues like corruption, nepotism and lack of transparency being raised against Sangguniang Kabataan, it also has been known to perform weakly for the past years, being known to solely focus on sports and festivals alone.
The University of San Carlos was the first institution to answer the call of the National Youth Commission (NYC) to heed in the Sangguniang Kabataan voters’ education scheme. The guest speaker, Jo Jan Paul Penol, a National Youth Commission (NYC) official, explained that what is needed is “a fresh brand of leadership in the grass roots” – the youth. He also briefly relayed the basic definition and information about the SK Reform Law.
The Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law or Republic Act No. 10742, signed by former President Aquino last January 2016, introduces a number of changes and adjustments to the Sangguniang Kabataan system.
First, the age bracket has been raised from the previous requirement of 15 to 17 years old into 18 to 24 years old. According to Penol, this adjustment will propagate better transition in the youth and there will be more involvement.
The reform law also introduces an Anti-Political Dynasty bar to level the playing field and to avoid exposing the youth to corruption.
Creation of LYDCs (Local Youth Development Council) was also established to assist Sangguniang Kabataan in planning and executing their projects.
Another key feature in the SK Reform Law is that it will grant financial independence to the Sangguniang Kabataan councils where the barangay councils will no longer have any hold. This grants reform and transparency to various SK councils.
The NYC will also conduct mandatory trainings to the newly elected officials so that they will be well-versed in their duties as part of the council.
Furthermore, Penol stated that with these revisions, a more liable Sangguniang Kabataan is attained and the voice of the youth will be empowered. “If there is someone that would believe in the youth, it should be the government,” he added.
The forum was concluded by Penol’s invitation to the attendees to register and vote in the upcoming SK elections.