Reform the youth council—Akbayan youth

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Cheanne Matriz – 0918.412.8622

 

Challenge after the 2010 SK elections

Three days after the conduct of the 2010 Sangguiang kabataan elections, Akbayan Youth and the SK Reform Coalition on Thursday reiterated its call to the government to reform the SK law following reported cases of irregularities that happened during the last elections.

In a press conference held at a restaurant in Quezon City, the groups urged the national government to immediately enact House Bill 468 or the SK Reform and Empowerment Bill authored by Akbayan Representatives Kaka Bag-ao and Walden Bello to avoid the problems experienced during the last SK elections.

Akbayan Youth spokesperson Cheanne Matriz and SK Reform Coalition coordinator Tobit Cruz said the salient points in the proposed law include provisions against political dynasties, revision of the SK age range and the strengthening of the Katipunan ng Kabataan through the institutionalization of the Local Youth Development Council.

“There were indeed reported irregularities during the conduct of the recent SK elections. But while others view these as arguments to abolish the program, we see these as the very reasons why reforms must be implemented immediately,” said Matriz.

The groups said the reported irregularities in the recent SK elections include “vote buying, ‘kidnap to vote’, proliferation of candidates from political dynasties and violence.

For his part, Cruz said that there should be an end to the way the Sangguniang Kabataan is being used as extensions of the elected barangay officials or even local government unit heads and officials. “Youth participation and governance must be insulated from patronage politics. It must be the anti-thesis of trapo politics and not its political annex.”

The groups said the proposed bill, if enacted into law, will institutionalize transparency, not only in the local SK units, but also in the federation level. they also said the needed reforms in the SK Law will reduce the possibilities of another Jane Cajes,  the embattled SK National Federation president who is currently facing a complaint before the Ombudsman for alleged fund mismanagement.

It was reported that the complainants to the case alleged that Cajes failed to disclose her office’s financial records and statement of disbursement for the last three years.

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