Solon expects stronger SK programs

Sen. Sonny Angara/File Photo.
Sen. Sonny Angara/File Photo.

Constituents of those who would be elected in the upcoming Sangguniang Kabataan elections could expect stronger and more progressive programs from their respective leaders, according to Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara on Sunday.

Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Youth, said with the completion of the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 11768 which introduced new reforms to the SK system, the youth sector can expect better performance from their representatives.

"Critics of the SK have questioned its relevance and see it as being politicized," Angara said.

"We introduced the amendments to the SK system in RA 11768 in response to these criticisms with the hope that the young members of the community who will be part of the body will do more as youth leaders and become strong partners of the government in nation-building," he added.

The lawmaker stressed that, for years, the SK has been criticized for undertaking the same activities that do little to benefit youth development such as organizing sportsfests and pageants.

To address this, the law provides clear guidelines on the types of programs, projects, and activities that can be undertaken by the SK using the funds provided to them.

These include the provision of student stipends, food, book and transportation allowances; sports and wellness projects; skills training, summer employment, cash-for-work, on-the-job training, and livelihood assistance; projects promoting the participation of the youth and their initiation in agricultural, fishery, and forestry enterprises; programs and activities that will locate the youth at the forefront of climate action, environmental protection and conservation efforts; capacity building for grassroots organization and leadership; and programs and activities that address context-specific and intersectional vulnerabilities of young people.

"We want to ensure that the SK stays true to its mandate of providing the youth in the communities with programs that will be useful to them and help them become productive members of society," Angara said.

The new measure also addresses the waning interest of the youth in joining the SK, including the absence of honoraria for most of its members.

Under the law, the SK members, secretaries and treasurers will now be entitled to allowances that will be charged against the SK funds.

A cap of 25 percent on the utilization of SK funds for personnel services was included in the law to ensure that the bulk of the budget will go to programs, projects and activities that will benefit the youth.

At present, only the SK chairpersons are entitled to honoraria by virtue of their status as ex-officio members of the Sangguniang Barangays.

The measure also authorizes the local government units to provide additional honoraria, as well as social welfare contributions and hazard pay to the SK chairpersons and members through their own local ordinances.

SK officials and members will be exempted from taking any components of the National Service Training Program. They will also be entitled to the appropriate civil service eligibility based on the years of service to the barangay, pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission.

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