MANILA – The National Youth Commission (NYC) on Tuesday appealed to the government and lawmakers to reconsider their plan to postpone the conduct of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections once more.
NYC Chairperson Aiza Seguerra made this appeal after a bill seeking the postponement of the October 2017 barangay and SK polls to May 2018 hurdled the House of Representatives suffrage and electoral reforms committee on Monday, August 14.
Seguerra said the SK polls should push through as scheduled because the SK Reform Act of 2015 is now in place to protect the SK from corruption.
"Kung ayaw nilang ituloy ang barangay, maintindihan namin. Pero sana, kahit ‘yung SK naman, sana 'yung SK ibigay na po sa amin. It’s been years,” Seguerra said in a news conference in Malacañang.
“And if ang fear nila ay mangyari ‘yung mga dating kinatatakutan nilang mangyari, that’s why there is a reform. Binago na po ang SK ngayon. Please give SK a chance.”
Seguerra added that it is important that the youth be properly represented in government.
“Nalulungkot po ang National Youth Commission sa balitang ‘yan because may ilan taon na rin po na wala pong tumatayong SK Chair at SK Council,” the NYC official said.
"And alam naman po natin na kapag walang kabataan na tumitingin, mahirap po ‘yun eh kasi it’s hard if old people or if adults will decide for young people.”
Seguerra said while there is a possibility that the SK polls will be postponed once more, he is glad that the SK reform law has mandated the establishment of local youth development offices in local government units which will help the commission in its programs.
"And ang maganda naman po kahit papaano ay through the LYDOs, we will be able to roll out all these programs and policies,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has sought the postponement of barangay polls to stop narco-politicians at the village level from using their money to influence the outcome of the polls.
In 2016, Duterte signed the law postponing the barangay and SK polls that were supposed to take place that year. The last barangay polls were held in 2013.
Despite moves in Congress to postpone the elections anew, the Commission on Elections has started printing ballots.