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BLIND SPOT: aSK for More

An SK Kagawad once ran just because her cousin who was then running for the SK chairman post needed one more candidate on her ticket. The prospective candidate for kagawad reluctantly got convinced. Since she never really wanted to run in the first place, she did not join in any of the campaign sorties. No; not one. (Oh yes, you would think it was a losing battle.) Well, what do you know? She won topnotcher among the winning SK kagawads. It must have been the good looks. For the sake of satisfying curiosity, the candidate for SK chairman also won. This candidate was popular among the youth in the community for holding all-expense paid swimming excursions to Pasacao. You know, swimming in the summer time has many benefits for adolescents which includes promoting physical fitness, amicable social relations and decrease of stress from the past school year. (Yeah, right.) “The Sangguniang Kabataan developed out of the Kabataang Barangay, established during martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos established the KB in 1975 to give youth a chance to be involved in community affairs and to provide the government means to inform youth of the government’s development efforts. (and despite that, youth activism still reached its record peak.) His daughter Imee Marcos was chairman.” (Now, how’s that for political dynasty?) ( “The Local Government Code of the Philippines (RA 7160) was passed in 1991 and it institutionalized the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) – a body that aims to provide an avenue for the youth to be trained as leaders. Under RA 7160, the main functions of the SK are to promulgate resolutions necessary to carry out the objectives of the youth in the barangay; to initiate programs designed to enhance the social, political, economic, cultural, spiritual a physical development of the members; and to conduct fund-raising activities.” ( And all these are achieved through summer basketball tournaments. ( That’s sarcasm in case you don’t notice.) “In the past years, SK faced a lot of issues as an institution. A 2007 study by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the UNICEF entitled, “The Impact of Youth Participation in the Local Government Process: The Sangguniang Kabataan Experience,” stated: “The SK’s performance for the past ten years has been generally weak. This is especially true in terms of coming up with legislations, promoting the development of young people, submitting reports and holding consultations with their constituents.” Aside from the lack of concrete legislative and youth development programs, I have heard of certain issues raised against the SK like corruption, nepotism, and recurring programs focusing on sports festivals and pageantry only.” ( Yet, there always has been a prominent sentiment against the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan; as if it would be a grave injustice and deprivation for the Filipino youth if the political unit is cast out in history. The SK is clearly a dispensable component of Filipino society. I’m not sure if it’s a unique program. Oh no. The Nazis had the Hitler Youth; and Communist eastern bloc nations of the Cold War era had similar counterparts, and by the way, it was originally conceptualized by President Marcos. (Do you notice any similarity?) In the context of a review of its purposes mentioned above, the SK indeed gave the youth a chance to get involved in community affairs. However, for the most part, as based on research, ‘community affairs” have been limited in sports festivals and beauty pageants. It has arguably failed in informing the youth of the government’s development efforts. Is the Filipino adolescent really aware of what the Philippine government is exerting towards national development? Considering your own communities, has the SK developed leaders who go on to be actual leaders in the community? In all honesty, national and community leaders stem from leaders of fraternities and campus organizations. Actual youth leadership is developed in socio-civic, religious and academic organizations. Sk remains dormant outside the summer season. What resolutions have the SK promulgated in carrying out the objectives of the youth and the barangay? Now, these teens have probably already filed their certificates of candidacy in COMELEC posts across the country. In the principle against hasty generalization, yes, maybe, there could be some who consider the SK objectives to heart; and seek to fulfill them. But Filipino society and government could very well be following a tradition that has not really lived up to its promise, and very will continue a vicious cycle of unachieved objectives. Maybe, it would do well to endeavor to accomplish the same ideals in another format; since the traditional avenue has failed. “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9

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