April 17, 2024

Something is bothersome about the disclosure that several Sangguniang Kabataan officials are unable to fulfill their mandate months after their election into office.
In Baguio City alone, there are 77 barangays with non-functioning youth councils either due to the incomplete number of SK officials, resulting in lack of a quorum, or they do not have youth officials at all.
It’s ironic that despite the passage of the SK Reform Act, which instituted reforms to ensure the effective participation of the youth in governance, several barangays are still faced with the challenge of not having youth councils that are functional enough to assure that the youth, indeed, are doing their part in nation-building.
Among other privileges, the SK Reform Act provides monetary benefits for youth officials in the form of an honorarium. Aside from this, SK officials are exempted from paying tuition and other fees when they are enrolled in State-run tertiary schools within their local government unit and are exempted from participating in the National Service Training Program.
SK officials also covered with PhilHealth benefits and may reimburse their expenses for travels that are directly related to their functions as youth officials.
It is unfortunate, however, that these privileges have not really enticed the youth enough to run for office and serve their communities. We say these because the predicament of having incomplete SK officials or none at all is experienced by other barangays nationwide.
We share the frustration caused by this predicament because we acknowledge the potential of the SK as a training ground of effective leaders in the future.
While it seems a lot of the young generation are no longer interested in serving their communities and the country, we cannot discount the fact that there are still young individuals who are equally interested in bringing about change by holding public office.
This is why inspite the seemingly growing disinterest of the youth to take part in governance, it would be good to involve them more in leadership roles in the communities.
Barangays and local government units can make the youth feel they matter by tapping the skills of these young individuals in the implementation of their local programs.
Among other possible engagements, barangays can get youth volunteers to manage their social media accounts, get their help in designing campaign materials for barangay programs, and involve them in peace-keeping efforts.
Making the youth feel they are needed could be a good start in eventually encouraging young individuals to take on leadership roles, such as running for the SK.
Despite its imperfections, we have high regard for the SK as we believe the youth’s active participation in local governance will further impress on them desirable values such as patriotism and develop other traits that would encourage them to be involved in other civic affairs to prepare them for higher leadership roles.