By: Andreo Calonzo
MANILA, Philippines (Sept 24, 2013) - Members of the bicameral conference committee tackling the bill postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls on Tuesday agreed to leave the youth council posts vacant until new officials are elected.
Senators in the bicameral panel yielded to the proposal of members of the House of Representatives not to allow incumbent SK officials to keep their posts on holdover capacities after the youth council polls are deferred.
"We are trying to reform the system. Why would we hold over a system we are not satisfied with?" Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairperson of the Senate local government committee which approved the bill, said after the meeting.
Both the Senate and the House panels also agreed to require the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to hold the SK polls between October 28, 2014 and February 23, 2015, contrary to initial proposals to hold the elections in 2016, in time for the barangay elections.
The Senate and the House likewise agreed to add a provision in the measure allowing barangay officials to use SK funds while youth council posts are still vacant, as long as these allocations will still be used for youth-related activities.
COMELEC chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. welcome the postponement of the elections, and the decision not to set the next SK polls in 2016.
"Okay lang sa amin. Kailangan lang namin ng pera. Gusto lang namin na bago pa mag February 2015 ang SK elections para hindi makaapekto sa preparasyon natin for the 2016 presidential elections," Brillantes said.
Both houses also committed to ratifying the bicameral conference committee report on the SK polls postponement bill before Congress goes on break on Thursday.