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The Senate committee on local government has proposed raising the upper limit of the age range qualification for Sangguniang Kabataan posts from the current 15 to 17 years old to 15 to 24 years old.
In his sponsorship speech Wednesday, Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., chairman of the committee on local government, said that this upward adjustment of the age ceiling will allow the older SK officials to sign contracts and incur legal obligations.
“This legal impediment has practically exposed our young leaders to pressure and interference from some unscrupulous barangay officials in the implementation of their programs and projects. If they are of legal age, then they are ready for and capable of full accountability,” said Marcos.
“The officers of the Sangguniang Kabataan must be at least 18 years old but not more than 24 years of age at the time of the election,” he added.
But Marcos said upon further consultation with youth sector and with co-authors Senators Bam Aquino and JV Ejercito after the committee finished its report, they deemed that the age ceiling could be raised from 24 to 30 years old.
He said the amendment could be discussed during the plenary debates.
Marcos also said raising the age ceiling will allow the younger members to be guided by the experience of the older ones.
It also conforms with the definition of “youth,” under Republic Act 8044 which created the National Youth Commission.
The committee also proposed fiscal autonomy for SK. Marcos said the barangay council should appropriate the SK funds in lump sum, which shall be disbursed solely for youth development and empowerment purposes.
The fund shall be deposited in a government-owned bank under the name of SK in accordance with annual barangay youth development plan.
Another reform the committee proposed was that the federated SK president will no longer automatically serve as ex-officio member of the municipal, city or provincial council.
Instead a local youth development council shall be created and be composed of not more than two official representatives of duly organized or accredited youth and youth serving organizations.
The duly proclaimed presidents of the youth development councils shall serve as ex-officio members of the local sangguanian.
“This proposed set up will ensure wide and multi-sectoral youth participation in local governance,” said Marcos.
The committee also proposed that before any SK official or any member of the council assume office, they must undergo the mandatory training program which will deal on patriotism, nationalism and values-enhancement towards nation-building; and capability-building on leadership, program and project development and sustainability, financial management, accountability and transparency.
A training fund with an initial amount of P50 million shall be established from available sources to be jointly managed by the National Youth Commission (NYC) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“I am hopeful that the proposed amendments to the Sangguniang Kabataan will usher our youth to a more productive and dynamic participation in governance that will train and guide them to a more mature role of public service,” Marcos said. — ELR, GMA News