Bohol First District Representative Rene L. Relampagos has renewed calls for the passage of a bill seeking to establish the Youth Development Council (YDC) that would allow broader and active participation of Filipino youth in public governance and decision-making and empower young leaders to become true agents of change.
Relampagos made the call following the Congress’ approval of bills postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election to October 2017, from the original schedule of October 31, 2016.
“The postponement of the SK elections gives us a chance to clean up our government system and select the best youth representatives for key positions. There really has to be a genuine space for youth participation in order to make meaningful reforms. The youth council is seen to serve as a springboard for genuine reforms and youth representation in both national and local levels of government,” the lawmaker stressed.
Under the proposed “Youth Empowerment Act of 2016” authored by Relampagos, the Council shall be composed of youth leaders or representatives from various organizations irrespective of the nature of organization where they belong such as but not limited to the academe, the church and the farming sector.
These councils shall be established in every barangay, city/municipality and province and are responsible for the formulation of polices and implementation of youth development programs, projects and activities in their respective areas of jurisdiction in coordination with various government and non-government organizations.
Moreover, The Council shall formulate and adopt a five-year city/municipal youth development plan which shall be duly supported by an ordinance to be enacted by the Sangguniang Panglungsod/Pambayan for review by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepED), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the National Youth Council (NYC). Said plan shall form the basis for the implementation of local youth development programs and services such as scholarship, livelihood, sports, arts and culture, health, environment and tourism.
“While existing laws on youth participation are set in place and implemented, the growing complexities of problems surrounding the youth such as ‘old-style’ or ‘traditional politics’, undermine the true spirit of youth participation in local governance as evidenced by the growing criticisms questioning the wisdom and practicability of the SK which has eventually become a breeding ground for corruption,” he said.
Under the measure, a youth desk or a youth development office with designated staff/coordinator whose term is co-terminous with those of the local executives shall be established in each locality to ensure that the programs are well implemented.
The budget that will be utilized for the creation of the council including all operational expenses shall be charged against the local government unit’s 10 percent Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the youth.
“This bill aims to broaden the influence and participation of the youth in community and local affairs by providing them the autonomy to come up with programs and projects that will truly benefit the nation as a whole,” Relampagos concluded.