By: Sonnet John Llaguno
ARE young people disinterested in leading their communities?
This question arose after the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on May 14, 2018, which saw some barangays lacking candidates for the youth council.
The shortage of candidates even forced the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the filing of the certificates of candidacy from April 20 to April 21.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported that 39 barangays nationwide lack SK officials.
The number might be insignificant compared to 42,000 barangays nationwide but it is still a cause for concern for some SK leaders.
Records from the Comelec showed that in Iloilo City, close to 300 SK posts are vacant due to lack of candidates. Of the total 180 barangays, two do not have bets for SK chairperson while eight have no candidates for the youth council.
Also, some barangays have less than the required seven members of the SK council.
Michael Joseph Teruel, the newly-elected SK chairperson of Barangay III in Tigbauan, Iloilo said he is saddened by the low turnout of SK candidates in the recent elections.
“I was saddened by the fact that there was a low turnout in the candidates for SK. It seems that the youth showed less interest in nation building but nevertheless I am also glad that some of the youth took the risk of serving their respective communities,” Teruel said.
Jude Osano, the chairperson of the West Visayas State University-University Student Council, said some youths might be disinterested in joining the SK.
“Hindi naman gusto sang iban nga mag-run due to lack of hope sa Sangguniang Kabataan and uninterested gid sila sa mga amu na klase nga mga bagay. Kag kung lantawon, damo naman gina-kabalak-an ang mga kabataan subong, hindi man lang mga amu na, may ara man sa eskwelahan ang iban sa kompyuteran,” Osano said.
Rey Mark C. Jaca, a Political Science student of WVSU who ran for SK chairman of Barangay Calaboa Oeste in Santa Barbara, Iloilo, said the anti-political dynasty provision of the SK reform law may have affected the turnout of candidates.
“Siguro ang reason why gamay lang nagpadalagan for SK is that because of the rule man nga up to second degree (of consanguinity and affinity) but then again some of them were inconsistent and the Comelec was inconsistent in giving the rules and some of them are not followed especially if you won’t file a protest, hindi mana nila pag-i call out ang attention,” Jaca said.
The SK reform law, which was implemented for the first time this year, states that an SK or youth council official should not be “related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected.”
The second degree of consanguinity extends to a person’s parents, children, grandparents, siblings, and grandchildren. The second degree of affinity, meanwhile, extends to the spouse, the parents-in-law, and the children-in-law.
WVSU-USC Councilor Glyzzel Ballarido shared several reasons for the lack of SK candidates in some areas.
Ballarido said the postponement of the polls may have discouraged youth leaders. The age requirement is another factor which led to the dearth of candidates.
The reputation of SK officials as limited to holding summer games or tournaments and initiating “useless” projects may have also affected the public interest in the SK, she added.
The DILG said vacant SK posts will be filled in either by special election or appointment.