SK’s Elections Postponed; Does This Government Know How Youth Participation is Vital to Nation Building? Calling PNoy’s Attention

By: Evelyn Trinidad

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – My opinion as a private citizen of this country pertaining to the postponement of the SK elections to 2104 or 2015 without holdover is: Condolence to all of us!

a) If in the last 22 years from the signing of the LGC institutionalizing the SK, we have not injected reforms, how can we do it in a year? The government should have worked on it for the last two decades if we are sincere on reforms that we keep on harping about. We had enough time to have injected the reforms that we wanted if we are true to our words

group of youths
group of youths pursuing their passion in arts

b) Why curtail the participation of the youth for a year? We have a lot to lose and nothing to gain by not extending the rule on “HOLDOVER” as contained in the LGC, Republic Act 9164 and 9340 to the incumbent. What is really our intention? I see this as a prelude to the abolition of the SK as aptly labeled by our Hon. Karminn Cheryl Dinney D. Yangot. “Killing me softly” – is what it is.

c) If the presence of the youth in governance has not addressed all the concerns of the youth for the past 22 years, will not their absence be more disastrous? Will they not be more deprived if they are not involved? Can the new system (contained in the law postponing the SK) give focus on the welfare and well-being of the youth?

Currently, the structural set-up in the barangay and the load that each kagawad is made to undertake is already huge that adding the concerns of the youth to one committee may lead to sacrificing the youth concerns or the other sector that the kagawad is handling. The youth concerns is one committee in the barangay and according to the law, “no sangguniang barangay should chair 2 committees”, who is going to chair it now when each kagawad has his/her own committee to handle? This decision of ours may push them to indulge in non-productive activities.

I call this a classic example of our failure as a country to direct the development of the youth. If there were lapses on their part, we only have ourselves to blame. Have we done our part to support and assist them? Are the government agencies that have oversight over the SK including mine done their part? Did all the stakeholders in the development of the youth sincerely say that they have performed their duties over the SK? I am not pointing fingers but I believe that it is our concerted responsibility to have guided them all the way.

Where were we when they needed us? Were we there for them? Let us reflect on this. We, the stakeholders played a big role on the postponement of the SK elections without holdover.

Why not go for elections instead? That would have been a better option and not the postponement. It is also what the previous laws say – election in 2013.

I have heard comments on how the SK is spending their funds. Fellow Filipinos, much of their funds are appropriated to promote the welfare of the children and youth in the country. They have financed day care centers, basketball courts, health and sanitation programs, peace and order projects, anti-drug abuse programs, environment, education, poverty programs and many more. If you ask them, they will give you a long list that is beyond your wildest imagination.

I should be happy that my task was lessened by the postponement but instead I feel sad. The SK is the primary avenue where our youth can air their aspirations, dreams, needs and ideas and the medium for them to participate in nation building. What have we done?

There are some schools of thoughts that believe that the SK representation at the higher level should be abolished, I say NO to that. Their presence in the higher legislative body is giving them the opportunity to raise the concerns of the youth up to the highest level of decision making. Rethink your stand and open your minds.

Even with the postponement, I believe that the SK should work for the reforms that the national government kept on mouthing about. All your efforts will not be put to naught, the younger ones will benefit from it.

To the SKF of Baguio, congratulations for all the efforts that you did to be heard by the palace. Kudos to you all!

I would very much like to hear “NENE PIMENTEL’S stand on this issue as the father of the local government code. His, was a brilliant idea, it should be nurtured and perfected instead of trying to mangle it.

Again, CONDOLENCE to all of us!

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