A lawmaker on Wednesday said the new law strengthening the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) would encourage youth participation and boost youth leadership in barangay affairs.
Isabela Representative Faustino “Inno” Dy V said President Duterte’s signing of Republic Act No. 11768 or the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Governance Reforms and Compensation Law would provide SK members with honoraria that would allow them to better focus on their work, particularly the planning and programming of youth projects in the country’s over 42,000 barangays.
Dy said providing SK members with honoraria would allow them to better focus on their work, particularly the planning and programming of youth projects in the country’s over 42,000 barangays.
“Naniniwala ako na ang SK ay hindi pang-liga-liga lang (I believe that the SK are not only meant for hosting leagues, and I believe our youth are capable of so much more. These reforms should help them level up––to spearhead projects that will have a positive impact in their respective communities,” Dy said in a statement.
With the new law enacted, he urged SKs to focus on programs that would support government efforts to address environmental issues.
“Not everyone can be Greta Thunberg,” said Dy, referring to the young climate change activist from Sweden.
“But all of us can do something within our sphere of influence to protect the environment. It starts with our communities––with our barangays––and our youth, as the generation that will inherit the planet, should lead the charge to protect it.”
Vital to reimaging SK role
Albay Representative Joey Salceda, for his part, said the law would be “vital to reimaging the role” of the SK in the skills development, youth employment, and learning.
“I thank President Duterte for signing this landmark measure, which is a gift to the next administration. The law will provide the SK with a framework for reimagining the role of youth governance in skills development, youth employment, and learning,” Salceda said.
He said according to estimates, the massive learning gap could result in as much as PHP41.4 trillion in productivity losses due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and school shutdowns.
He also noted the existing skills match led to at least 2.4 million unfilled jobs based on estimates, while high youth unemployment is at 13.4 percent, more than double the 6.4 percent national average.
“The SK has a critical role to play in addressing these massive youth-specific concerns. So, we expanded their mandate and range of covered programs to include skills trainings, on-the-job training and livelihood assistance, educational assistance, and other productive programs,” he said.
He said the law would also expand SKs’ role by institutionalizing youth governance in the LGU level, and having SK representatives for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in the National Youth Commission.
“We are also making the SK more accountable by making them subject to standard government accounting and audit rules.”
The law would extend Civil Service Eligibility benefit to SK Officials, he added.
“The SK is no longer the broken institution it used to be known as. It is improving, after the SK Reform Act, which makes it the only institution in the country where political dynasties are banned by law,” he said.
Under Republic Act 11768, which provides SK members, including the treasurer and secretary, with monthly honoraria, chargeable against the SK funds, in addition to any other compensation. (PNA)