The youth arm of the Akbayan party-list, which supported President Benigno Aquino III’s electoral campaign, criticized his plan to scrap the Sangguniang Kabataan as “mistaken.”
Aquino’s proposal to abolish the Sangguniang Kabataan — a body representing young people in every barangay — is “a detour of his concept of a ‘matuwid na daan’ (straight path) governance,” an Akbayan Youth representative said in a statement.
“With all due respect to the president, we believe he is mistaken on this issue. The abolition of the SK is a ‘major u-turn’, a reversal of the youth’s participation in governance,” Marlon Cornelio, Akbayan Youth Secretary-General, said.
The announcement came days after another youth organization, the Kabataan party-list group which has one seat in the Lower House, expressed similar sentiments.
Aquino’s basis to abolish the SK is “unreasonable and unacceptable,” Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino said on the Kabataan website.
While Akbayan-Youth agreed that corruption and inefficiency are present in the SK, the group insisted that this does not represent the “entirety of the institution’s political character.”
“If we deal with the SK issue using such a flawed assumption, we might as well abolish all the government agencies perceived to be cesspools of corruption,” Cornelio said.
“Beyond the bad experiences of some SK councils, there are in fact councils which have shown great level of competent youth governance,” he added.
Cornelio also denied that the SK program is a “waste of government resources.”
“If the government wants to really save its resources, then they should train their guns on the state’s inefficient tax collection, burdensome debt payments and unwarranted spending of some government agencies,” Cornelio said.
For his part, Palatino also said that the “move will only discourage the youth to perform a more active role in instilling changes in society. Is this cost-cutting worth our democracy?”
Last week, Palatino filed House Bill 1963, or the SK Reform Bill, which proposed to reform and strengthen the SK system of youth representation at various levels of governance.—Robert JA Basilio/JV, GMANews.TV