The recently concluded election of the SK Municipal/City Federations was a blatant corruption of the idealism of the Filipino youth.
The otherwise naive and idealistic minds were initiated in the ways of the corrupt and unscrupulous leaders and elders. SK Chairmen and their parents were given thousands of pesos and other gifts like cellphones and motorcycles in exchange for their votes. Is this the way to go for the so called hope of our fatherland? If so, then WE are LOSING our hope. For a price.
What lessons did our young people learned from the exercise of the right of suffrage? Arrogance. Buy votes in order to get elected. And have the privilege of prefixing one's name with the title Honorable. What sheer mockery. Only in the Philippines do we call people buying votes as honorable people.
I once overheard a radio commentator suggest adding "having the capacity to buy votes" in the qualifications of candidates and changing election to bidding. Anyway, that is what it really is. So why the embarassment?
One of the powers and functions of the Sangguniang Kabataan is to initiate programs designed to enhance the social, political, economic, cultural, intellectual, moral, spiritual, and physical development of the members (Par. (b), Sec. 426, Chapter 8, Title One, Book III of the 1991 Local Government Code). Yet, only a few really delivers and serve sincerely. Why? Most of them entered public service the wrong way. There is no debt of gratitude for the support. So what if they do not do anything? Nothing. The prevailing mindset is: That is the way things are nowadays, why fight it?
While the accomplishments of enlightened SK Officials are worth mentioning, the moral decay overshadows their accomplishments. The bad eggs greatly outnumbers the worthy officials of the Sangguniang Kabataan. Hence, the continued existence of the SK brings great disadvantage to the development of our youth, which is contrary to its mandate. A good deal of tax payers' money are wasted through the salaries paid to inactive SKs.
If we really want to train our youth in governance, take away the salaries but the scholarship privelege may be retained. The proposal of the National Youth Commission to adopt rotational leadership is also worth considering. It will motivate out youth to innovate, to think of better programs, and most importantly, to work. This will pose a challenge to everyone to have an accomplishment. There is also the SK Reform Bill that should be looked into. Without the necessary changes, the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan will continue to resonate.