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Friday, October 24, 2014

EDITORIAL: SK election, a joke?

Congress has long been vacillating on its stand on the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK). Earlier this week, representatives from the Liberal Party reached a consensus to yet again postpone the scheduled 2015 election.
Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)
If that happens, it will be the second time in recent history that the youth polls will be deferred. The polls, it would be noted, were originally scheduled last year.

In between the times that they want to push through with the elections, and those that they call for the youth council’s abolition, debates focusing on the issues surrounding the SK ensue.

Some believe that the youth council should stay. They often argue that the SK was a response to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates that the State “shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the rights to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child.”

Others, however, remain unconvinced. They argue that the noble intentions from which the SK sprung were unquestionable, but are ultimately inadequate to keep the governing body free of the same controversies currently plaguing the national and local government. This group often calls for the abolition of the SK, contending that the SK is not the sole avenue for the youth to express their opinions and interests. Often, they aver that school organizations can create a much healthier environment where the youth can form and express their opinion and engage in meaningful activities.

Regardless of which side Congress will eventually pick, it is imperative that they make the decision soon. If they want to keep the SK, they must clearly define the governing body’s roles and limitations. On the other hand, if they want to abolish it, they should put their foot down and not allow themselves to be swayed.

Congress’ indecision is costing the nation millions of pesos as they keep COMELEC offices open even on Saturdays, in the hopes that the youth will be interested in registering. Much money is wasted, as well, as Comelec continues its information drive about the SK elections.

The time and effort of the youth are also squandered, with some even choosing to put off their studies to prepare for the polls.

Worst of all, such indecision sends a bad message to the youth, many of whom now probably believe that the government is not at all serious about seeking their participation in governance.

For them, it is a cruel joke for the government to spend so much time and resources convincing them to participate in the polls, only to repeatedly postpone it.

It will be no surprise if future calls for the youth to register or run for the SK elections were to fall on deaf ears. In fact, signs of this have already been noted during the registration last September, when a disappointing number of young people turned up at Comelec offices across the nation for the list-up.

There will likely come a time when no one from the youth will heed the call of the government to participate. When that happens, the joke will be on the government, which hopefully, by then, would have made up its mind on the SK.

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