Sangguniang Kabataan

8 August 2016

The constitution is the fundamental law which mandates and recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building to promote and protest the physical, moral, emotional, spiritual and social well-being and indicate patriotism and nationalism as well as encourage youth participation in public and civic affairs. This is concerned on about one-third of the country’s population which is approximately 27 million youth (Sandoval, G. , Mangahas, M. , & Guerrero, L. L. , n.d), which can make a difference and can contribute in nation-building, engage in meaningfully and channel insights, energies and talents to useful and needed areas where they can uplift and assert their rights and ensure a better future.

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A youth legislation body, the Sangguniang Kabataan or SK is supposed to be a training ground for the county’s future leaders giving them a hands-on experience in politics and a chance to be heard; however, for more than two decades of existence in its present set up in the local government, its genuine purpose as stated in Section 423-429 of the Local Government Code was not efficiently met.

Thus, it is beneficial and practical that Sangguniang Kabataan and all its amendments and provisions should be totally abolished. In letting the youth participate in local governance as provided by law, it is noted that among the key findings of the studies conducted by the University of the Philippines as commissioned by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that the SK performance is generally weak (Balanon, F. A. , Ong, M. , Torre, B. , & Puzon, M., 2007).

There is actually a mismatch between the needs of the youth and actual and corresponding SK projects, which are mostly sports such as basketball games, environmental advocacies such as tree planting, beauty contests and talent shows. The Sangguniang Kabataan was established for a primary purpose to formulate programs that are essential and would answer and address actual needs of the youth which are education, health, livelihood and vices.

This is actually supported by psychosocial studies particularly that of Erik Erikson (1959), because SK members are the youth who are more focused on building on their own identities and social relations with peers rather than solving problems with a wide community-based youth legislation. With these points, the Sangguniang Kabataan serves no purpose.

On the other hand, some still believe that the youth participation as stated in Section 13 of the 1987 Constitution that SK is the best manifestation and means to enhance and develop the youth to promote the right to take part in the government of the country as well as equal access to public service (Gamboa, 2013). The Sangguniang Kabataan is where the youth can practice actual decision-making and policy making and most of all, this youth legislation serves as an outlet wherein the youth can express their ideas and creative thinking, which serves as a training ground to become future leaders of the country.

However, the youth participation in governance is not tantamount to Sangguniang Kabataan and there are available facets and mechanisms wherein the youth can participate actively. The state’s policy recognizing the role of the youth in nation building envisioned under the Constitution is not the mere participation in the Sangguniang Kabataan. The participatory involvement of the youth is not limited to the political arena and there are avenues waiting to be explored where the youthful insights can be attained such as party-list systems and ABS-CBN’s Bayan Mo, Ipatrol Mo.

Nonetheless, it has turned into a breeding ground for traditional politics where instead teaching the value of leadership, it is corruption that is taught to the youth at an early age. According to Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chair, Sixto Brilliantes that SK candidates resorted to the “hakot” system of herding supporters to local Comelec offices to register, which is a bad practice for their early age (Tubeza, 2013).

Other than just churning out younger corrupt future politicians, the SK has also been known to be the training ground for political dynasties, a place where politician families can put their kids to “learn about” politics until they are of age and can take over the family business (Katigbak, 2013). This seems rather unfair to those who truly want to run for the SK because of a genuine interest in politics and serving the people. They stand no chance running against candidates who are backed by their political families.

It is just another place for politicians to gain a stronger foothold. In addition, the budget of the Sangguniang Kabataan together with the barangay election is 3. 4 billion on election expenses alone and not to mention its 10 percent share on barangay funds (Balanon, F. A. , et al, 2007). With the Philippines being a third world country, the amount allocated to the Sangguniang Kabataan is absolutely which can reach up to hundred thousands of pesos depending on the barangay funds.

With the SK at hand, enormous amounts of money are being managed by the unripe minds of the youth (Macaraig, 2013). If this budget will be channeled into other avenues that can develop the youth, the constitutional mandate can be further implemented and other youth-related issues will be addressed. The Sangguniang Kabataan’s goal is noble; however, it has been distracted from its vision and goals.

For twenty years, the Sangguniang Kabataan existed and twenty years is much a long time to want change to happen. The SK may have executed their duties properly and devotedly but most people cannot feel it collectively that is why this issue emerged. Taxpayers’ money is being wasted; thus, useless allocation of funds must be transferred to where it is needed the most. Given the arguments presented above, the Sangguniang Kabataan must and is necessary to be abolished.

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