Press Release
October 29, 2007


This year's election for officials of the Sangguniang Kabataan in more than 43,000 barangays in the country may be the last with the snowballing move in both chambers of Congress to abolish the SK.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) said the proposal to phase out the SK is being considered by lawmakers in view of feedbacks coming from across the archipelago that this youth organization has lost its usefulness to the community.

Pimentel said the first objection to the continued existence of the SK is the observation that youth leaders "are too young to participate in serious discussions of the local governments."

"Many of them are studying and they are forced to leave their barangays to attend to their schooling in the poblacion, and some other distant places. Thus, they neglect their official functions," he said.

He said a lot of people are concerned that the SK has exposed youth leaders to situations that make them susceptible to dishonest practices in the handling of public funds due to absence or inadequacy of safeguards.

Pimentel said that while he is inclined to favor the abolition of the SK, there should be an alternative mechanism for giving the youth some kind of representation or involvement in government.

"It is really a very ticklish matter because there is no question that the youth should have an involvement in the running of the affairs of the local communities," he said.

Pimentel said a primary question that must be resolved is whether the SK officials should be merely appointed instead of elected.

Related to this is the questions of what SK positions - chairman and councilmen - will be retained, he said.

And then there is the issue of who will be authorized to appoint the SK officials.

"If the city or town mayor will be made the appointing authority, the problem is he is likely to make partisan choices," Pimentel said.

He said he would consult with officials of the Commission on Elections, Department of Interior and Local Government and the leagues of local government units to get their views on the alternative-set up to the SK, which was created under the Local Government Code of 1991.

"I want to sit down with them so that before the term of the next batch of SK officials expires, we will already have a new law that will address the need for an alternative structure for the political representation of the youth," Pimentel said.

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