SK Reform Coalition
The Sangguniang Kabataan REFORM Coalition pushes for the passage of SK reform bills in Congress; while at the same time works in building the capacities and capabilities of SK officials and networks (KK, LGUs, other youth organizations, etc) to effectively perform their duties and responsibilities. The Coalition not only exists to counter the SK abolition calls but to emphasize the need to develop good governance and principled leadership among the youth.
Young people as agents of good governance and principled leadership.
Collectively work for the passage of a youth legislation that would provide meaningful spaces for youth participation in governance while strengthening capacities of youth, especially the Sangguniang Kabataan (village youth council), in promoting good governance and principled leadership.
- fight the calls for SK Abolition
- enact meaningful reform measures to the Local Government Code that created the SK
- provide capacity and capability trainings/seminars/materials for SK and KK to effectively perform their duties and responsibilities
- combat corruption in SK
- serve as a platform, convergence point for all this unity/objectives
Who We Are
The SK REFORM Coalition secretariat and founding members are composed of the following organizations:
- SK officials and KK members (see complete list)
- Local Youth Organizations (see complete list)
- Akbayan! Youth
- The First Time Voters Network (FTV)
- The Youth and Students Sector of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC YS)
- The Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking (CYAN)
- Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP)
Recognizing the various aspects of catalyzing reforms and fighting corruption in SK, we crafted and implemented a multi-pronged program approach. The programs and approach also gradually developed along the course of work. This program includes:
1. Identifying the root and situating the problem
2. institutionalizing and enacting SK reform measures
3. Capacity and Capability program for SKs and KKs
4. Best and worst practice documentation
5. SOP: The Standard and Corrupt Practices in SK
Identifying the problem
The calls for the abolition of SK have been recurring. The best way to solve this problem is not turn a blind eye on the legitimate issues but to identify and address each of them. To do this, NAPC YSS in partnership with government institutions and UNICEF proposed a comprehensive national study on SK. The University of the Philippines Center for Integrative Studies (UP CIDS) along with a research advisory panel composed of representatives from the different institutions undertook the study. The said study identified the following problems:
- SK, Barangay, and LGU officials and their communities are not aware of the roles and functions of SK;
- SKs have underperformed and were deemed insignificant, were limited in their work to ‘paliga’ or sports festivals, clean and green, and beauty contests;
- SK officials are being used and corrupted
- SK officials have conflict in their schedule with schooling
It was also highlighted in the study that:
- the youth still see significance in SK and expressed willingness to participate in governance
- the well performing SKs are the SKs which have the support of their barangay, Local Government Units (LGUs), non-governmental organizations, and other youth organizations (community, school, and church-based)
- SKs who were informed of and trained with their duties and responsibilities were among those with best practices
Thus, the study recommended the following:
- institutionalize or enact reform laws for the SK
- intensify information drive on the functions of SKs, not only with the SK officials but also with the barangay and LGU officials, as well as their communities
- reactivate the KK
- create a support system for the SKs at the grassroots level; network them with other organizations and institutions
- intensify and bring to the grassroots level capacity and capability training/seminars and materials
With the study, the Coalition, among other stakeholders, had a better understanding the overall work that needs to be done and the issues that have to be addressed.
Institutionalizing and Enacting SK Reform
Reform measures, that were identified in the study and further validated in stakeholders consultations conducted by the Coalition and its partners, are being advanced both in the legislative and executive branch of government.
On the legislative side, the Coalition came up with a consolidated SK Reform Bill. The said bill was lobbied with members of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) and were consequently filled in both Houses of the 14th and 15th Congress by legislators friendly with the Coalition. The bill reached committee hearings that were enthusiastically attended by the Coalition. However, such legislative process takes a lot of time and needs massive social pressure for legislators to act.
Because legislative reforms usually take a lot of time, other means of instituting reforms were also undertaken. Partnership with various institutions prove more productive. The Coalition continued partnerships with the institutions that worked for the SK Study: These are:
- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) particularly the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO)
- The National Youth Commission (NYC)
- The Sangguniang Kabataan National Federation (SKNF)
- The Child Welfare Council (CWC)
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Philippines
Among the fruits of these partnerships are Memorandums issued by DILG to facilitate convening of local youth assemblies to support SK; a national youth voters campaign with UNICEF; and a SK Guidebook developed as a result of the SK Study.
Capacity and Capability training programs for SKs
As it has been identified that SK has underperformed because elected youth leaders were not ready for the governance work, capacity and capability trainings and development of materials were being prioritized by the Coalition and its partners. The SK Guidebook was produced for this specific concern.
SK Camps that serve as venue for training SKs were also convened in different regions in the Philippines. The Coalition taps its local members for SK Officials requesting for such trainings as well.
SK Best and Worst Practice Documentation
The SK best practice documentation project particular addresses the lack of literature on SKs impact on governance. It is also aim to debunk pro-abolition arguments that see nothing good about SKs and their work. It is a means to reaffirm and encourage more SK officials to practice good governance.
While the Coalition recognizes model SK Officials and projects, it also discourage SK from the sway of corrupt practices. The Coalition has filled cases and conducted media campaigns against corrupt SK officials and practices. One of such case is the recent complaint against the Federation President of SK in the Ombudsman for failing to provide financial reports for SK national projects approximately amounting to 95 million pesos.
The Coalition utilizes ICT it most of its programs. It has a facebook account, a blogsite, a text/SMS hotline for coordination and reporting.
SOP: The Standard and Corrupt Practices in SK
(to be implemented)
The most alarming report received by the Coalition pertains to “S.O.P.” or “standard operating procedure”. SK Officials report that they are made to sign project vouchers and given 10-20 % of the total project cost as part of SOP. This case indicates that young SK officials are being taught corrupt practices as part of standards.
The SOP project will provide printed and online manuals which highlights the (real) standards or process flowchart and the red flags ( or cases for possible corruption) for SK finances, particularly in procurement. It will also serve as a compilation of reported “SOP’s” gathered by the Coalition through grassroots reports. With this manual, the procurement process/flow is clarified and corruption is prevented.