Youth voters register for the forthcoming Sangguniang Kabataan polls scheduled next year.
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Recognizing the significant role of the youth in the country’s future, Partido Reporma senatorial aspirant Guillermo Eleazar has vowed to institute reforms that would empower the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) as a training ground for future leaders from the mass base of youth public servants in all barangays across the archipelago.
In an interview at his soon-to-be-opened campaign headquarters in Makati City, the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief noted that there is an urgent need to reform the SK political structure in the different barangays so that they may be given an expanded role in community affairs.
Eleazar likewise mentioned reforms in the election of SK officials that is held to coincide with the barangay polls as its playing field is needed to be leveled in order to give more opportunity to smart and qualified but poor youth who want to serve as chairperson or member of the SK council.
“Maraming mga matatalino at qualified na mga kabataan na anak ng magsasaka, tricycle at jeepney driver, mga tindera sa palengke at mga mahihirap na hindi nabibigyan ng pagkakataon na maging miyembro ng SK dahil eleksyon pa lang ang laki na ng gastos,” he pointed out.
“Kaya sa napakatagal na panahon, naging parang exclusive ang SK sa mga anak at kamag-anak ng mayayaman at ng mga nasa kapangyarihan na handang magbuhos ng pera sa SK election,” he added.
The retired general also stressed that systemic changes must be made in SK because, at present, youth leaders are being exposed to the traditional concept of politics in the Philippines.
He cited the case when he was still the director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) wherein he shattered the Padrino system in the recruitment of police officers in order to level the playing field for all the applicants and ensure that only the best and qualified applicants could enter the national police force.
“As a result, a number of children of poor families were able to achieve their dream of becoming a police officer. The drastic reform in the PNP recruitment system which I initiated is something that I want to see when it comes to SK. Lagi nating sinasabi na ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan, pero paano natin ito magagawa kung hindi patas ang laban para maging SK Chairperson or SK Council members?” he enthused.
In ending, the 26th PNP chief suggested that instead of holding SK elections that are patterned after the traditional political election, the SK polls should be more inclusive wherein each purok of different barangays must have at least one representative to run for SK chairmanship.
“Para sa akin, hindi dapat sila obligado na magbuo ng sarili nilang partido dahil traditional politics yun. Instead, ang SK chairman lang ang iboboto sa barangay youth assembly na gagawin ng Commission on Elections (Comelec). At kapag naiboto na ang SK chairperson, he or she would facilitate the nomination and election of members of SK council from among those present in the youth assembly. In this way, mas maraming matatalino at qualified na kabataan ang mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na maging SK chairperson o member ng SK council dahil kahit papano patas na ang laban at naka focus sa pagalingan,” he concluded. (ai/mtvn)