MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that gives more benefits to elected members of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), which includes a monthly honorarium and Civil Service eligibility, documents shared by Malacañang showed.
Republic Act No. 11768, signed on May 6 but only made public on Tuesday, amended the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015, giving emphasis on the role of youth leaders in nation-building.
Under the law, SK treasurers will be given priority in the allocation of scholarships offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
All SK officials, whether elected or appointed and "in good standing," will be exempted from the National Service Training Program (NSTP) while they are in office.
They may also be excused from attending their regular classes "while attending their regular or special Sangguniang Kabataan meetings: "A certification of attendance shall be issued by the [SK] secretary, attested by the SK chairperson, and duly noted by the Punong Barangay" or village chief.
This must be submitted to the faculty member and the dean of their program as proof of attendance, said the law. This was also in the SK Reform Act of 2015 but the process of exemption no longer included the submission of photographs and documentation as proof of their attendance in the SK meeting.
SK members will also be entitled to civil service eligibility "based on their years of service to the barangay pursuant to the rules and regulations" promulgated by the Civil Service Commission.
Sangguniang Kabataan members will also have a monthly honoraria, which will be charged in their funds. The monthly stipend of the members must not, however, exceed the monthly compensation of their chairperson.
Allocation of the SK funds for personal services must not also exceed 25 percent, the law stated.
Aside from this, local government units may provide additional honoraria to SK officials and members, but this must be subject to the Commission on Audit's post-auditing process.
The law also limits the use of SK funds to the following projects:
- student stipends
- book and education allowances
- sports and wellness projects
- skills training
- OJT assistance
- livelihood assistance
- environment conservation
- calamity preparedness
- programs and activities that address context-specific and intersectional vulnerabilities of young people