After the recently concluded barangay and youth polls, Akbayan Youth, together with the SK Reform Coalition, called on DILG to issue a strict guideline and corresponding sanctions to guard against rampant vote buying in the SK Federation elections at the local and national levels.
The next day immediately after the general elections, DILG municipal or city officer will have to convene winning SK officials for 5 days for the Integrated Sangguniang Kabataan Organizational Leadership and Reorientation (ISKOLAR) Basic Orientation Seminar (BOS). On the 4th day, the elections for SK municipal or city federation are held. The next day after the municipal/city level training, the elected federation presidents are then convened for another 5-day training and elections at the provincial level federation. City and Provincial federation officers are then convened at the national level for the same purpose. Federation elections, however, are marred with rampant vote buying and “petting” of local and national politicians, according to Marlon Cornelio, Secretary General of Akbayan Youth and Convener of SK Reform Coalition.
“Last SK federation elections, barangay SK Chairpersons were being bought from 5-10,000 pesos to vote in favor of a politician’s pet candidate. Aside from this, they are also offered mobile phones or laptop computers. The same incidence was reported from the SKNF elections in 2007 were Jane Cajes was elected, ” SK Official and SK Reform Spokesperson Tobitz Cruz explained.
The DILG, the COMELEC and NYC are responsible for the conduct of federation elections. The latter is included in the national federation elections.
“It is very sad that during SK federation elections, other SK officials and even DILG officers report ‘umuulan ng pera’ (that vote buying is rampant), but nothing is being done to stop the practice. DILG under the leadership of Sec Robredo has to step up and address this; young people have high expectations on the promise of Aquino administration’s ‘matuwid na daan’,” says Cruz.
“Malaki ang tungkulin ng mga federation sa pag-approve ng SK Budget at pagpaparusa ng mga may sala at walang ginagawang SK officials, subalit kung namili sila ng boto, nawawalan sila ng moral ascendancy para dito (SK Federations have the power to approve local SK Budgets at impose sanctions on erring SK Officials, but if they buy votes, they lost the moral ascendancy required for this function).” “Worst, habang nasa pwesto sila, nangungurakot sila para mabawi ang pinangbili nila ng boto para manalo (worst, while in the position, they will steal money from youth budget to recover their expenses during elections),” explains Cornelio.
“Ayaw nating magaya ang mga susunod na SK officials sa dysfunctional at corruption-ridden na SK Federations sa kasalukuyan, ayaw na natin ang mga kagaya ni Cajes (we do not want the recently elected SK officials to inherit and immolate dysfunctional and corrupt SK Federations that we have now, we do not want cases similar to Cajes),” Cornelio added.
Akbayan Youth has earlier called on DILG to investigate on SKNF Pres. Cajes who faces a complaint in the Ombudsman for not releasing SKNF financial statement and report during her 3-year term. Akbayan Youth also urged DILG to issue sticker guidelines on utilization of SK budget. Financial transparency and accountability is one of the provisions in Akbayan’s SK Reform and Empowerment bill (HB 0468).
Tristan Bringas, 09393159181
Tobit Cruz, 09058741303