Press Release
March 27, 2017

Bam: Respect people's right to choose leaders

A senator urged the government to respect the people's right to choose their next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) leaders amid the administration's plan to postpone October village elections and appoint a new set of leaders.

"Our barangay elections are a way for us to exercise our democracy," Sen. Bam Aquino said in a media interview

"Mahalaga na galing sa taumbayan ang halal, especially at the smallest unit of governance, so that our officials are accountable to their constituents and serve the people. Appointing barangay officials will only strengthen the patronage system in our country," he added.

The senator also insisted a law is needed that will allow not just the postponement of the elections, but will grant the President the authority to appoint.

Sen. Bam insisted that elections must push through this October to give people a chance to choose their next barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan leaders.

Sen. Bam also stressed that reforms that lawmakers fought for in Republic Act No. 10742 or the SK Reform Act will go down the drain if the SK elections will be postponed anew.

"Maganda ang mga repormang nakapaloob sa batas na ito at napapanahon nang maipatupad. Mauuwi lang ito sa wala kung hindi na naman matutuloy ang halalan," said Sen. Bam, who pushed for the law's passage as co-author and co-sponsor in the 16th Congress during his time as chairman of the Committee on Youth.

The first legislation with an anti-dynasty provision, the SK Reform Act prohibits relatives of elected officials up to 2nd civil degree of consanguinity or affinity from seeking SK posts.

The law adjusts age limit of SK officials from 15-17 to 18-24 years old, making them legally capable of entering into contracts and be held accountable and liable for their actions.

Furthermore, SK officials will now be required to undergo leadership training programs to expose them to the best practices in governance and guide their development as leaders.

The new law also mandates the creation of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC), a council that will support the SK and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations.

The LYDC will be composed of representatives from the different youth organizations in the community - student councils, church and youth faith groups, youth-serving organizations, and community-based youth groups.

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