The what now?
The Sangguniang Kabataan or SK is a sector of the barangay that comprises of the youth. With the youth welfare in mind, they spearhead community projects with aspects such as education, health and environment…or that is ideally what they do.
It was conceived in 1975 with the presidential decree 684. It has been since questioned, as it is viewed as a breeding ground for corrupt public officials. The SK has seen many revisions throughout the years, the most recent was President Benigno Aquino’s Republic Act 10742, or The Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015. Analysts say this is a first step towards the abolition of political dynasties as it the act introduces new policies on qualification with regards to kinship. The age limit was also changed, from (15-17 years old to 18-24 years old), so corrupt SK officers can now be held accountable. The reform also states that there will be 7 SK members, and 1 chairman. These will be voted by the registered Katipunan ng Kabataan, all barangay residents aged 15-30 years old.
Under the new act, the next SK elections will be on the 31st of October 2016.
Move to Postpone the SK Elections
Last February, there was a house bill proposing to postpone the SK elections to two years from now. The premise of House Bill 6420 was in consideration of the May 2016 elections, it was prudent to move the SK elections to October of 2018. Newly-elected President Duterte has repealed this house bill, thus elections this October 31st is a go.
Low Voters Turnout and Tapping into the Tech Savvy
Historically, there has been a low number of registered voters. Many people do not see the importance of the Sangguniang Kabataan. With the millennial generation, and the advanced technology of computers and internet, why not make the voters’ registration online? Most teenagers spend their time on the internet anyways, so why not use that as an opportunity to solve this. With that, why not make the election online as well? We are all familiar of Google Docs and Google Forms. It is so easy, COMELEC needs to see this. There is an existing model of computerized elections here in UP, during our elections of the University Student Council officers. Registration and elections will be manual this year. Registration will be from the 15th to the 30th of July.