Newly-elected SK officials back bill extending eligibility

By Samuel Toledo LEGAZPI CITY --- Newly-elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) councilors here on Tuesday lauded the bill filed by Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda seeking to extend professional eligibility to enter government office, or career service, to them, just like their counterparts in the Barangay council. Attending in batches the SK mandatory training spearheaded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the concerned local government units (LGUs), these councilors echoed their overwhelming support to Salceda-sponsored House Bill No. 7719 titled Sangguniang Kabataan Barangay Official Eligibility (BOE) Act. Carl John Calma, 27, an SK councilor of Barangay 27, Victory Village, said the automatic eligibility to be given to them once the bill becomes a law would give them opportunity to enter government service without taking the formal professional eligibility examination being administered by the Civil Service Commission (CSC). “This will encourage more youths to run during SK elections,” Calma said. Carmi Nicole Santiago, 19, an elected SK councilor of Barangay Oro Site, said the bill would serve as an incentive for them since, at present, the SK councilors do not even have an honorarium. “Since we do not have an honorarium as compared to our counterpart in the Barangay Council, this extension of eligibility to our level will serve as an incentive already,” Santiago said. Robert Baldonado, 20, SK councilor of Barangay Dinagaan, said the proposed law would lure more youths to join public service as young councilor. Baldonado said there were several barangays during the May 14 local elections that did not have complete lineup of SK candidates. He noted even big barangays did not have at least seven SK candidates to fill up the complete SK lineup in a barangay. A hundred percent approval of the Salceda bill surfaced during the SK mandatory training held at the Ibalong Center for Recreation (ICR) hall. Cindy Castilla, 19, SK councilor of Brgy Marinawa in Bato Catanduanes, said in a phone interview, the bill, if becomes a law, can encourage more to work harder and be a better leader in the community. “Being SK councilor with eligibility makes me feel more important and more responsible for all the things I will do for my barangay,” said Castilla. In an earlier statement, Salceda said BOE shall be considered appropriate for appointment to first level positions in the career service, except positions covered by board laws and/or those that require other special eligibilities as determined by the CSC, or those that require licenses, He said the grant of the eligibility will be after the end of the term of the SK kagawads. The date of effectivity of the BOE shall be the date of approval of an application by the CSC Regional Office (RO) concerned. Salceda said the filing of application for the grant of BOE for elective and appointive SK barangay officials shall be after the completion of their term of office and it shall be within two years from the completion of the term of office. PNA