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Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 1


Proposal: Sangguniang Kabataan as Tool to Strengthening Youth’s Participation in Public and Civic Affairs

Kervin John P. Picones University of the Philippines Diliman May 19, 2011

It was instituted in hopes that it would be an effective tool to intensifying youth’s interest in public and civic affairs although the purpose that it has appears to be self-defeating. However. Published articles. Significant recommendations were then elucidated based on the analyses and conclusions. It is concluded that the SK is important to cater to the needs of the youth and that the government must invest in it to tap youth’s potentials for local and national development. the discussion is only limited to the existing studies regarding the SK and its performance. This paper explores the issues that have been hounding the SK and its impacts on youth’s engagement in various projects. relevant books. .Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 2 Abstract The Sangguniang Kabataan establishment opened a lot of opportunities to the Filipino youth. and selected online materials were consulted and cited in order to logically arrive at appropriate conclusions. The purpose of this paper is to establish SK’s viability in encouraging youth to participate in every state of affairs.

even before the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Children (UN CRC). This initiative refers to the establishment of Sangguniang Kabataan as stipulated in the Local Government Code of 1991. thus the title. 2007). That is why. and economic aspects of our state remain to be forceless. has already made its own initiative in creating a venue for the youth to have a say in relevant affairs of state (United Nations Children’s Fund-Manila. the Philippines. Also. Fortunately. really needs a true and dynamic representation. political. It is imperative that this issue be discussed because the youth.—that is. the interest of the youth sector to engage in socio-cultural. almost one-third of the Philippine population accounts to the youth sector—it is appropriate that the Filipino youth must be empowered to participate in matters that directly and indirectly affect them. But despite having this institutionalized government office. the prevalence of youth movements such as La Liga Filipina led by Dr Jose Rizal and company was notable at that time where they tried to seek societal reforms from the Spanish regime. the rise of the Katipunan as a movement involving youth masses led by Andres Bonifacio showed youth sector’s activism in meddling in important . Literature As early as late 19th century in the Philippines. The efficiency of SK in representing the whole youth sector in our country is now in question as there are proposals. as a potential ‘asset’ of our society. to abolish it.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 3 Sangguniang Kabataan as Tool to Strengthening Youth’s Participation in Public and Civic Affairs In a nation where the population is characterized as young. this paper aims to scrutinize if the SK serves as an effective tool in strengthening youth’s participation in public and civic affair. in reference to its mandates vis-à-vis the projects it has undertaken and is currently delivering. especially in the House of Representatives in the form of the House Bill 185.

Inc. It was in the 1990s in which the NYC was finally actualized.1). 1946. However. immediately rose to be at the helm. 1990). Quezon and Sergio Osmeña. Sr.. Meanwhile. where the establishment of the National Youth Commission was proposed by the Konsultahang Kabataan. the said proposal did not materialize but instead.. During the American regime. some Filipino youths were educated under the American system of education and one of its products were the late Presidents Manuel L. the UNICEF (2007) has presented a timeline of youth participation in governance from the 1970s [which was discussed above] to the present. p. as well as the“1991 Local Government Code and created the Katipunan ng . was only to counter militant youth activity at that time and it also only “exposed the youth to graft. corruption and opportunism” (UNICEF. It was during 1980s. Responding to the call of the Katipunan. Notable youth did not stop even during the Japanese Occupation where most male Filipino youth joined in guerilla movements to attain permanent freedom (CONCERN. But then it was only after almost 29 years since the establishment of Philippine Republic in which the first government-funded and instituted youth representative organization was enacted in the form of Kabataang Barangay (KB) as its name under the Marcos Administration. according to some critics. the constitution of the aforementioned organization. the country established its own democratic government (Agoncillo. 1992). then President Corazon Aquino conceived the President Council Youth Affairs with “unclear functions”. an event that took part in February 1987. who. “the first revolution against a colonial master in the whole of Asia” (p. “close to a million young men and women” partook in the 1896 Revolution.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 4 social issues. Inc. 19). after the ouster of the late President Marcos. 2007. However. on the other hand. After the Philippine Independence declaration on July 4. 1992). particularly regarding the liberation of the Philippines from Spanish colonization (CONCERN. during their youthful years.

has stressed that the “Sangguniang Kabataan is the quintessential example of child participation in local governance…and…a testament to the Philippine Government’s recognition of the potential of children and youth to contribute to national development” (p. On the other hand. respectively. 19). Alunan and Sumulong (1992). 8) . In his message.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 5 Kabataan and the Sangguniang Kabataan that covers the youth ages 15-24 years old” (p. UNICEF Representative to the Philippines. At the start of 21 st century to present. p. 2001 Regional Youth Summit was held touching on the issues and problems hounding the SK. 2005). 8). where one of which seeks to abolish the system while the other one proposes reforms that will overhaul it. Moreso. As an additional note. Leaders’ Takes on SK Debacle While SK is currently in the face of being abolished. then secretary and undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government. Currently. The age bracket was subsequently changed to 15-18 years old. there are still a lot of people from the government. the amended Local Government Code 2002 changed for the third time the age bracket covering the sector to 15-17 years old. at the latter period. have established that the institutionalization of the Sangguniang Kabataan and the Katipunan ng Kabataan which the former truly represents is vital in molding tomorrow’s leaders. However. there are two clashing bills regarding the Sangguniang Kabataan System that are pending at the House of Representatives. as well as from non-government sectors who uphold its sustenance. the Local Government Code amendments in 2002 sought to strengthen the mandates of the SK and changed the term of elective SK officials from three to five years (Rodriguez. Alipui (2007). They also aired their confidence in the . he has acknowledged that the system has its shortcomings which the Filipino youth must take as a challenge in order for them to have a true representative and to be able to air their sides in various issues (cited in UNICEF.

Inc. Arroyo (2007) has “urged all youth and stakeholders to strive for a meaningful and equitable youth development as we [referring to all Filipino people] continue to provide better opportunities for the Filipino youth” (cited in NYC. The fact that the youth are recognized member of a society implicates that they must be involved in decision-makings that will directly and indirectly affect them. the youth are always susceptible to some changes at the same time because they are part of it. to all intents and purposes. Likewise. it is maintained. p. 4). p.. Youth in Public and Civic Affairs In order for us to clearly discuss the aforementioned concerns of Filipino youth in SK and its impact on them. Further. Despite the support of some distinguished leaders on the Sangguniang Kabataan System. et. Because of this. Montgomery . Former President Gloria M.3). the concept of youth is a social construct and “suggests a more social x).iv. we must first qualify the ‘youth’ that we are talking about and discuss how imperative it is that they must be heard and be given opportunities in governance. and not onlyamong small number of young individuals. p.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 6 capacity of the youth to solve some pressing social issues involving them (cited in CONCERN. a concern with young people as a socially constituted group and an interest in ways in which young people are positioned and defined within society” (p. Arroyo has also recognized youth empowerment’s importance in local community development.. whatever changes transpire in a certain society. that the SK must first be empirically determined if it serves as an efficient tool in promoting participation among youth. in public and civic affairs especially in the local level.13). that is. particularly in local governance and its legislative aspects. Frith (2005) has it that the term youth refers more to “being a sociological category rather than a biological one” (cited in Kehily. 1992. the aforementioned assertions implies that it is fit to establish a Sangguniang Kabataan as a council that will respond to the needs of the youth sector in our country and will also encourage the youth to be proactive in giving their share in matters regarding public and civic affairs.45) Therefore.10) Mandates of the Sangguniang Kabataan The primary objective of the Sangguniang Kabataan is to become an effective tool for “people empowerment” wherein young people should be able to become “conscious of their duties and responsibilities and not just of their rights and privileges” (CONCERN. et. SK’s youth empowerment must be aligned with the government’s development plans for reforms and national development. Being considered as the most dynamic section of the population. By public and civic affairs. that is... its policies and projects. p. And because they “comprise the unmarried portion of the population…they can make use of their time fully in community work unlike the other obligated portions who can only devote a small part of their time in civic duties” (CONCERN. Inc. p. Inc. 1992. the youth’s involvement in community works and different local and even national projects is a realization of the visions that the government has laid out for them. and in order for that particular society to understand the youth.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 7 (2005) has pointed out that the whole society must understand the things which the youth are going through. it is necessary that social and cultural contexts surrounding them be examined (cited in Kehily. 13) Tied with it is the government being responsible for ensuring the active performance of the said system which must accord with different government agencies. . we refer to the duties of the youth as part of their own locality or as citizens of the nation to where they belong.

With these. we should also evaluate the activities and projects that the SK spearheads and had actually done. we should also take a look on how the youth really do their part as members of the Katipunan ng Kabataan represented by the SK itself especially when we talk about voter’s registration records and voters’ turnout during the election day. they automatically become ex-officio members in the either municipal or provincial council and entitled to participate in all of its sessions. the legislators came up with the appropriate powers. their duties and functions point out to ensuring that their participation in every Sangguniang Barangay (SB) undertaking must be well accorded with the law and they must see to it that they decide considering the whole of the Barangay constituents. Sangguniang Kabataan in Action Given that there really is a need for the youth sector to have a venue that will cater to their respective needs. power and functions) given to it. Similarly. anti-vice/drug abuse activities. The SK must do these projects with maximum participation of its youth constituents and must take account of the progress on each activity or aspect of activities. Nonetheless. an independent election watchdog. The SK Chairmen have a power to participate in their respective barangay councils in legislating ordinances involving their jurisdictions. ecology education.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 8 For this to materialize. When elected as presidents of the municipal and provincial federations. calamity and criminality. has reported from the National Statistics . the National Movement for Free Election (NAMFREL) (2010). 1992) Also. (Abletez. As for the youth’s participation in SK elections. the mandates given to SK are sufficient for they encompass different matters concerning the youth. the projects of the SK must dwell on sports development and promotions. duties. duties. environmental protection. and functions that have been vested upon the Sangguniang Kabataan to represent the Katipunan ng Kabataan or simply the whole youth sector. and its congruence and compliance to the mandates (that is.

we can conclude that 8 out of 10 youth did their part in voting for their representatives in SK. In a particular study. the unharnessed potentials often “leads to juvenile delinquency. Ergo. 068 of the total registered SK voters participated in the election—an all-time high percentage of voters’ turnout. 8) . (Gonzales. He has also maintained that the establishment of the Sangguniang Kabataan System has no clear purpose which merely imitated the mandates given to Kabataang Barangay (KB) during the Marcos regime. did not successfully materialize. Registering high interests among youth themselves in this very important phase of choosing their leaders reflects their perceptions on the efficiency of the said council and its system in delivering their needs. p. Gonzales (1998) has also conducted a different study to re-examine SK’s efficiency where he contended based on his findings that the SK’s functions as a means to moral recovery.3)— ironical because these effects are included in the thrusts of the Sangguniang Kabataan. 1998.155. On the other hand. it does not suffice for there is still a need to examine the projects and activities undertaken by the SK through the years. Furthermore. drug addiction or they find their way joining the NPA” (p. Though this is a good indicator of youth’s remarkable interest in participating in public and civic affairs.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 9 Coordination Board’s (NSCB) record that in the 2007 Barangay and SK Elections. 80 % to 3. a program of Former President Fidel Ramos. the NSCB has expected that an even higher voters’ turnout percentage in this year’s [2011] Barangay and SK Elections. Bueno (1998) has found out that the programs delivered by the SK through the years lack in responding to the needs of the “underprivileged youth” which is deterrent for the advancement of the said large sector of our society. 12). From this. implying that the presence of a government-funded youth organization does not fit to the “democratic nature of government of the Philippines” (p.

we can say that the SK’s actions and programs are not commensurate to what the youth need.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 10 On the other part of the spectrum. values/qualities acquired. respectively. gender. charity (UNICEF.g.61%.27). The said agency also determined that most SKs across the country fail to file their annual accomplishment reports based on the records of National Youth Commission (NYC). From this. and religion. 2007). 18. The UNICEF termed it as “mismatch” between actual “SK projects and what the youth really need” (p. livelihood. vices. but still.67%. education. environment. positive effects based on the skills and knowledge gained. entertainment. promoting youth participation. and 18. new opportunities met were analyzed vis-à-vis the negative behaviors learned by members of the SK. Sadly. it does not cater well to the different needs of the youth and reflects that that it lacks focus on the more important issues (e. i.61 % of the total percentage of projects. this shows that though youth’s participation in SK projects is high.and environment-related ones which account to 31. the UNICEF and the NYC are firm in their stand to sustain the Sangguniang . Based on the findings of the UNICEF (2007). vices. What is more reliable is the study commissioned by the UNICEF where the respondents were randomly selected from Luzon. infrastructure. The said study gauged SK’s effectiveness through determining the actual number of projects by SK Federations-from the municipal to the provincial level—in terms of issue/concerns addressed. Visayas and Mindanao. capacity-building. education).e. the survey that Gonzales conducted for his research study was only administered to the youth sector in Mindoro—which was not reasonable and did not truly represent the whole youth sector in the Philippines. majority of the programs being undertaken by the SK are sports-. health. Besides these. Different aspects were also considered and ensured to be balanced like age. sports. health. infrastructure.

However. Saraswathi and Larson (2002) elicited important views as regards this matter: The nation that neglects to provide for its youth will see the costs of that neglect in the years that follow. the Sangguniang Kabataan. as discussed.e. The nation that equips and energizes its youth is likely to reap compounded benefits as these youth enter adulthood and take over the reigns of society as parents. (CONCERN Inc. Truly. is the only effective tool that will truly strengthen youth’s participation in local and national affairs.344) The government should be the one to take the lead in bringing the Sangguniang Kabataan at the forefront of realizing its thrust regarding people empowerment. in local governments. I assert. and leaders. the Philippine’s step in pioneering government-institutionalized youth organization is upheld and recognized by the international community in conformity to its pledge of empowering the youth and promoting for their rights. full mobilization of the youth is necessary as we are passing on them serious problems that the world currently faces. workers. the failure of the SK to truly address youth’s issues and problems has effect in encouraging youth of different interests to give their respective shares in engaging themselves in affairs of state. But it must not lead to state’s abandonment of the youth representatives. 1992) Aditionally. (p. the option to abolish it must be abandoned and at the same time. reforms must be instituted for the SK to perform its duties and functions in all of its aspects. i. Thus. Adult and societies alike must give their respective shares in . The SK. Conclusions and Recommendations The occurrences of the aforesaid shortcomings in the SK System triggered some members of the legislative to finally abolish it while some push for reformations.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 11 Kabataan System and are currently developing a framework that will pose comprehensive reforms within it.

the adult ones must protect. if not all the youth. Inculcating in them the value of nationalism is necessary in order for the youth to have an intensified passion in . Furthermore. And above all these. aside from specifying SK’s framework. What needed. inculcates in the youth the necessity of doing their responsibilities as a significant sector of the society and as a citizens of this nation. And with this. on community works and government processes to prepare them for a tougher life ahead of them. it is recommended that the reforms being considered for the SK System must revolve on defining specific framework from which it must perform to ensure that the youth are effectively served according to its mandates. i. We. at a young age.e. the government should arrive at the concept of SK as one that protects youth’s rights and interests and at the same time. In essence. These said. the proposals must include activities that will cater to young people of different interests. reforms must be properly perused and put into concrete actions to ensure the viability of the system in addressing the different needs of the youth. The youth sector must embark. the Sangguniang Kabataan must continue its journey with full support from the government. must set standards on youth empowerment. then. trainings and forums regarding nationalism and nation-building must be proposed that will involve most of the youth-constituents.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 12 preparing and honing the youth. Consequently. is an SK that will pragmatically give identity to the Filipino youth. as a nation. 2002). and guide the youth while societies need to take care of them by investing for their needs (Saraswathi and Larson. Filipinos must take pride in the uniqueness of the ideas and endeavors behind the establishment of the Sangguniang Kabataan. provide support to. To all intents and purposes. local empirical studies must be conducted in order to determine the variance of interests of a particular SK youth constituents.

References Abletez. (1969). also known as the SK Reform and Empowerment Bill. Agoncillo. [Abstract]. J. (1998). our country is still in the process of nation-building and establishing its own identity where youth’s potentials must be harnessed to succeed in the said endeavors. Youth’s positive role in national development. must be prioritized and therefore must finally be passed into law. Sangguniang kabataan and national security. The said bill stipulates workable terms that really push for an effective youth representative system. the House Bill 468. . Ateneo de Manila University. Sangguniang kabataan: handbook for new youth councils. Quezon City: Garotech Publising.) . (1992). Quezon City. After all. (1990). A. History of the Filipino people (8th ed.Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 13 serving their country. P. Bueno. Quezon City: National Defense College of the Philippines. T. F. V. To realize the aforementioned points. [Manila]: Mary Jo Publications.

(2010. al. (Ed. I.Quezon City: Central Books. Barangay and SK: election S. Mandaluyong City: National Book Store. (Ed. D. (2010. Kehily. D. et. Manila: Mary Jo Educational Supply.7160. (2007).namfrel. Understanding youth: perspectives. In T.pdf Rodriguez. M.: World Bank. amending for that purpose the republic act no. R. Sangguniang kabataan primer: book 1. 2011. L. September 16).. (2009). Vol. B. J. Quezon City: National Defense College of the Philippines. (2005). rules of procedures and cases. from http://www. al. identities and practices. Retrieved May 13. Washington. R. Gonzales. Phl House of Representatives. J.congress. 344-360) . 2011.) An agenda for social policy (pp. (1998) .).. London: Sage Publication. [Manila]. The sangguniang kabataan re-examined. C. from http://www. (2007). . Handling child in conflict with the law RA 93AA: roles of the Barangay and SK. August 27). Mosquito.W. NAMFREL. R. et. Larson ( %201%20Issue%202%20091610. An act to reform and strengthen the sangguniang kabataan. Retrieved May 14.pdf National Youth Commission. Development and next generation. (1992). (2007). Statistics Board expects above 70% voters’ turn out for SK elections [Electronic version].Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 14 CONCERN. F. otherwise known as the local government code of the Philippines and for other purposes. Saraswathi & R. L. Youth links: a guide to localizing the medium-term youth development plan.

Makati City. The impact of youth participation in the local government process: the sangguniang kabataan experience. (2007).Sangguniang Kabataan Impacts on Youth 15 UNICEF. .