/ 7 February 2022

SENATOR Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’  Angara believes that the new amendments to the Sangguniang Kabataan law is a significant step to strengthen the youth body.

As the principal author and sponsor of Senate Bill 2124, Angara said he expects to see greater youth participation as they will be developed into future leaders through the SK.

The Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of SB 2124 and House Bill 10698. The report is awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“It has been six years since RA 10742 or the SK Reform Act was enacted and with these improvements that we introduced, we are optimistic the SK system will remain relevant as a tool to foster the growth and development of the Filipino youth as future leaders of the country,” the chairman of the Committee on Youth said.

Under the bill, SK members, secretaries and treasurers will be granted a monthly honoraria, charged against the SK funds.

At present, only the SK chairpersons are entitled to honoraria by virtue of their status as ex-officio members of the Sangguniang Barangay.

The salaries of the SK members cover only 25 percent of the SK funds. Angara said the cap will ensure that the bulk of the budget will go to the SK programs and project.

As agreed upon in the bicameral conference meeting, the use of the SK funds should be prioritized for programs, projects and activities that will promote and attain the thrusts of the Philippine Youth Development Plan such as health, education, environment, global mobility, active citizenship, governance, social equity and inclusion, peace building and security, human rights, gender equality and economic development.

Among the programs and projects identified under the bill are the provision of student stipends, food, book and transportation allowances; sports and wellness projects; skills training, summer employment, on-the-job training and livelihood assistance; projects promoting the participation of the youth and their initiation in agricultural, fishery, and forestry enterprises; programs and activities that address context-specific and intersectional vulnerabilities of young people; and capacity building for grassroots organization and leadership.

The bill also exempts SK officials from taking any of the components of the National Service Training Program.

“We must continue to strive to promote the development of our youth and provide them with the opportunities to grow and prosper. The SK will continue to exist as partners of government in attaining these goals,” Angara said.