Solons urge youth to participate in SK polls

MANILA Two senators on Thursday urged the Filipino youth to participate in the coming May 14 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, either as voters or candidates, to prove to the country and their communities their worth and their sector's social significance in nation-building.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said that by participating in the upcoming political exercise, the youth would be able to show that they are serious in their intention to serve their sector and the general public.

"I always believe in the power and capability of the youth. If they want to be taken seriously, then they should show that they deserve it by making mature and correct decisions, like participating in the SK elections, which is a serious matter," Ejercito said in a statement.

It doesn't matter whether you are a candidate or not, as long as you participate because this is your chance to prove your importance as members of the society," he added.

The upcoming youth polls will be the first to be undertaken under the SK Reform law or Republic Act No. 10742.

The law adjusts the age limit for SK officials from 15-17 years old to 18-24 years old, making them legally capable of entering into contracts and be held accountable and liable for their actions.

Meanwhile, eligible voters for the SK polls should be 15-30 years old.

The SK Reform Act also has the distinction of being the first law in the country with an anti-political dynasty provision.

Section 10 of the law states that an official of SK, either elective or appointive "must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected."

Ejercito, who is one of the co-authors of the SK Reform law, said he hopes the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would strictly implement the anti-dynasty provision.

"We pushed for the SK Reform law because of criticisms that SK officials are insincere, incompetent, and being used by corrupt politicians. Critics had also described SK as a 'breeding ground' for corruption. Now, under the SK Reform law, I'm daring the youth to prove the SK critics wrong," he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV urged the youth who want to serve their countrymen and make a positive impact in their communities to run in the SK election.

"Hinihikayat natin ang mga kabataan na nais maglingkod sa kapwa at sa bayan na tumakbo sa ilalim ng bago at pinalakas na SK (We are encouraging the youth who want to serve their fellowmen and country to run under the new and reinvigorated SK)," Aquino, who is also one of the co-authors of the SK Reform law, said.

"Ito na ang pagkakataon ng kabataan para magserbisyo at solusyunan ang mga problema ng komunidad (This is an opportunity for the youth to serve and resolve the problems of the community)," he added.

In the meantime, the Comelec has reminded all aspirants that the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the SK, as well as the barangay (village) polls will be at 5 p.m. on Friday (April 20).

The poll body has set the campaign period on May 4-12 and the manual polls on May 14.

The Comelec said there are 31,900 chairmanships and 263,000 council positions up for grabs in the barangay and SK elections. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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