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DILG: SK law’s anti-political dynasty provision one reason for low turnout of candidates

Interior Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya on Wednesday said that the anti-political dynasty provision of the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act is one reason behind the low turnout of candidates for the SK elections on May 14.

"I think (the low turnout) is for various reasons. The first being the anti-political dynasty [provision]. You know, there has been some sort of political capture I would say of some areas in the Philippines where the SK [candidates] are sons, daughters, or relatives of barangay officials," Malaya said in a television interview.

Under the law, an SK candidate "must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected..."

He said that since there was not much public discussion on the provision, even distant relatives of incumbent officials are thinking they could not join the SK elections.

He said that public discussion on the particular decision was bungled by proposals to postpone the barangay elections.

"The problem being because of so many proposals to postpone the barangay elections, there wasn't a lot of public discussion on this provision. There was this impression na kasama yung mga pinsan but they are not prohibited. The cousins are not prohibited under the law. What's prohibited are the direct relatives," Malaya said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government had said it may ask the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for a special day for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the SK elections in some areas where there are insufficient number of candidates.

If the request is not granted by the Comelec, he said local governments may instead form local youth councils that will be composed of youth leaders and youth serving organizations for each municipality, which will handle the responsibilities of the SK.

"We can organize local youth development councils. It's in the law, the SK Reform Law, that outside the SK there should be local youth develeopment councils," Malaya said.

"Let's say this town has four or five barangays without the SK, then the municipal level, the local youth development council will be the one to organize activities for those barangays. We will remind them that this barangay has no SK so please don't forget to implement activities in that barangay," he added. —Joseph Tristan Roxas/ALG, GMA News