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The House of Representatives on Monday passed on third and final reading a measure to postpone the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections further to Oct. 31, 2016, synchronous with the barangay (village) polls.
A total of 193 lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill 5209 while eight voted against it. The bill is a proposed amendment to Republic Act 9164, also known as the Act Providing for Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan, as amended.
Under the proposal, the SK elections originally scheduled for Oct. 28, 2013 will be postponed to the last Monday of October 2016.
The Commission on Elections previously reset the SK polls to Feb. 21, 2015 after President Benigno Aquino III signed into law Republic Act 10632 or "An Act to Postpone the Sangguniang Kabataang Elections on October 28, 2013 Amending for the Purpose Republic Act 9340 and for other Purposes."
Under RA 9340, barangay and youth council elections should be held every three years, starting 2007.
According to a fact sheet on HB 5209, the House’s objective in deferring the conduct of SK polls is “to allow Congress [to have] more time to legislate the appropriate amendments to applicable provisions of the Local Government Code.”
Back in 2013, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes already expressed preference for conducting the SK elections in 2016 to give the poll body ample time to decide on the proposals to finally abolish the youth council, which he believes is a "breeding ground" for corruption.
"We want to postpone it and see what will happen. Kapag nakapag-function ang barangay without an SK, we will try to work for its abolition. Kung kailangan, then we will have the elections in 2016," he said.
The SK was established in1975 under the Marcos administration to give the youth a voice in community affairs and to provide the government a means to tap the youth for various development initiatives.
Earlier this year, Vice President Jejomar Binay suggested that SK representatives should instead be appointed by government officials to keep the council clean. — Xianne Arcangel/JDS, GMA News