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The Puerto Princesa Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation is pushing for a December barangay and SK election, claiming that the current officials’ residency is overdue and that youths should not be denied the right to vote.

Federation president Myka Mabelle Magbanua stated that the current SK officials in each barangay have been in office for about four years and three months following the 2018 elections.

According to the local federation’s coverage, more than half of the SK officials have already started having their own families, and about 80% are now more invested in pursuing their careers. Magbanua also expressed concern for the welfare of the SK officials who want to move on with their lives after serving for about four years.

“Paniniwala ko na dapat hindi natin binabawi sa taumbayan ‘yong kanilang karapatan na pumili ng kanilang leaders. If those leaders right now ay really capable enough at saka really deserving enough para botohin uli ng mamamayan, bakit tayo matatakot sa eleksyon?” Magbanua said.

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“Tingin ko dapat from the very first place, kahit noong 2020 pa lang, dapat hindi natin binabawi at pinaglalaruan ang karapatan ng mga mamamayan to suffrage. Ang karapatan nila na vested ng konstitusyon ng Pilipinas na mamili ng kanilang leaders kahit sa barangay o kahit saan level. The mere act of postponing it is parang pinagkakait natin sa mga mamamayan ‘yong karapatan nila bumuto at pumili ng kanilang leaders,” she added.

Magbanua expressed confidence that the SK Reform Law, also known as RA 10742, assisted SK officials in improving the quality of projects and programs implemented during their tenure. She also noted that there is a “significant change and upgrading” in SK’s agenda.

Projects on teen pregnancy, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse prevention, the environment, gender sensitivity, and economic prosperity were among those she highlighted. Programs for adapting to climate change are now being launched by the local federation.

“There is a significant change, upgrading sa lahat ng mga programa ng Sangguniang Kabataan. One of the connotations sa mga SK officials ay puro pa-Liga at pa-pageant lang. I cannot say na nawala na ‘yon, meron pa rin talaga ‘yon kasi it’s still part of the mandate. We have to initiate sports development-related programs. Having pageants is still part of the culture, hindi natin kaya na i-eradicate ng basta-basta,” she said.

Magbanua said the funding and programs are in line with the officials’ three-year plan. According to RA 10742, the Katipunan of Kabataan Assembly mandates the holding of a general assembly among the youth in their barangays to advocate for their plans prior to the city council’s approval.

Around 62 out of 66 barangays have started to transfer their SK funds to their bank accounts for faster utilization of funds.

“Hindi na sila nadidiktahan– ngayon may boses sila enough kung anong plano nila, yon ang kanilang iniimplementa,” she added.

The House of Representatives passed Tuesday on second reading the measure seeking the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) from December 5, 2022 to December 4, 2023.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.