Inside out

Random musings in and outside the news

House bills seek abolition of youth councils

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 12, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:22:00 08/12/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers on Tuesday filed separate bills in the House of Representatives to abolish the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK, village youth council).

“Fifteen to 17-years-old is not exactly the best age in life to be entrusted with power and authority,” said Valenzuela 2nd district Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo, who filed House Bill (HB) 1243, of the young officials. “This age bracket is comprised of teenagers who are only beginning to learn what responsibility means.”

The other members of the House who filed bills are Representatives Lorna Silverio (3rd district Bulacan, HB 2063), Bernardo Piñol Jr. (2nd district North Cotabato, HB 2422), and Jose Solis (2nd district Sorsogon, HB 2999).

House Bills 1243, 2063, 2422, and 2999 filed by Valenzuela 2nd District Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo I, Bulacan 3rd District Representative Lorna Silverio, North Cotabato 2nd District Representative Bernardo Piñol Jr., and Sorsogon 2nd District Representative Jose Solis respectively to abolish the SK.

Agusan del Norte 2nd district Representative Edelmiro Amante agreed with Gunigundo, saying the youth should focus on their studies “and should set aside their political activities for a while.”

However, Akbayan Representative Rissa Hontiveros-Baraquel said abolishing the SK would only “disempower the people, particularly the youth at the local level, and contradict the essence of the devolution of the government.”

“Deepening democracy in the way we organize our politics entails having accessible local government units. In this case, the country’s youth having direct and meaningful participation in the affairs of government must be one of the solutions to its problems,” she added.

The SK, she added, could also set an example for other local government units in the fight against corruption and “political disenfrachisement,” Baraquel added.

She proposed an overhaul of the SK system instead of abolishing it.

“It must be empowered to give the body oversight powers to make SK officials accountable to their constituency in terms of clear processes in development planning, budgeting and disbursement of funds,” she added.

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