INTRAMUROS, MANILA. Inspired by the popular movie franchise Superman, members of the Akbayan Youth group trooped to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) national headquarters today, July 15, to mark the “return” of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and to call for the active participation of young people in the upcoming local youth council elections in October 2016.
“A better, bolder and stronger SK awaits young people,” said Von Yacob, Akbayan Youth spokesperson for SK affairs. “We are excited to participate in the SK elections because after several postponements and an enacted SK reform law, it is finally here,” he added.
The SK Reform Law was signed by then President Benigno Aquino last year, championed by Akbayan Partylist in the House of Representatives and Senator Bam Aquino in the Senate.
The reformed youth institution is a historical one, being the first to enable a law against political dynasties. Among the reforms are the expansion of the age range from 15 to 30 years old and the creation of local youth development councils.
Akbayan Youth is positive that the SK will impact youth development on a community level. Yacob urged young people to participate in the budgeting process to forward their agenda. The Local Government Code allows 10% of barangay funds to youth development programs and projects.
The COMELEC has set the registration for the barangay and SK elections from July 15 to 30 of this year. The youth group, on the other hand, urged COMELEC to conduct a massive voters’ registration drive so as not to disenfranchise young people.
“We should get the information out there,” the youth group said in a statement. “15 days of voters’ registration may not be enough if people are not informed,” Yacob argued.
Akbayan Youth also recommended that COMELEC partner with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to excuse students when they register to vote during school hours.