MANILA – Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Wednesday pushed for the immediate passage of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) reform bill, saying the time to introduce needed changes in the existing system is running out.
“We have less than two months remaining to introduce the changes that we are pushing for to make it more effective in addressing the needs of the youth,” Aquino, chairman of the Senate committee on youth, said.
Aquino authored one of the measures entitled ‘Liga ng Bayaning Kabataan’ under the consolidated Senate Bill No. 2401 or the Youth Development and Empowerment Act of 2014.
According to the bill, Congress has until February 2015 to introduce the needed reforms in the existing system.
”If not, the elections will push through in February of this year with the current problematic system,” Aquino said.
Instead of having the system abolished, Aquino pushed for the suspension of the 2013 SK elections to pave way for introduction of needed reforms that will help turn the youth into better public servants in the future.
During the recent two-day Hackathon on SK, Aquino urged the youth to actively participate in the shaping of the reform bill, which is currently undergoing interpellations in the upper chamber.
“We call on the youth to actively participate in the formation of this bill. Your input can be a big help as we craft a law that will introduce crucial reforms in the system,” Aquino said.
The lawmaker said this is the best time for the youth to pitch in their ideas, which will be introduced during the amendment stage.
“The reforms we are pushing are crucial as they will harness volunteerism among the youth and pull them away from clutches of partisan politics,” he said.
The measure proposes to change the age range for SK officers to 18 to 24 years old from the current range of 15 to 17 years old.
The bill also introduces increased participation for youth through the creation of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC)
The LYDC will be composed of youth leaders from universities and colleges, the Church and other religious groups, and communities, that will support the SK and ensure the creation of better programs and policies for the Filipino youth.