By Hannah Torregoza
With no chance of another postponement, Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV urged voters to participate in the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled this May 2018.
Aquino made the call despite the fact the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the measure postponing the village and youth polls.
The senator pointed out that no counterpart measure has been filed at the Senate, which means the elections will push through as scheduled.
“Tuloy na tuloy na ang barangay at Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections,” Aquino said in a radio interview.
“Walang ipapasa na postponement sa Senado. Wala nang makapipigil pa sa halalan sa Mayo 14, (The Senate has no plans to file a bill postponing it. No one can stop the elections this May 14),” he said.
As such, the senator said the people should carefully choose their local leaders—those who would be able to protect them well and lead their communities efficiently.
Aquino said it is imperative that the public choose their next leaders wisely and elect morally upright candidates, not those who are involved in illegal activities.
“Piliin natin ang mga pinunong lalaban para sa komunidad, malinis, tapat at walang kinalaman sa anumang krimen (Let’s choose our leaders who are willing to fight for the community, who are clean, trustworthy and are not linked to any crimes),” he said.
“Piliin natin ang pinuno na sisiguraduhing ligtas ang ating mga komunidad sa mga krimen at pang aabuso ng mga nasa kapangyarihan (Let us choose leaders who will make sure our community is safe against crime and abuse from authority),” he pointed out.
Aquino noted that the upcoming village polls will also mark the first implementation of Republic Act 10742 or the SK Reform Act.
The senator pointed out this is the first law in the country that has an anti-political dynasty provision.
“Pagkakataon rin ito para makita natin kung epektibo ang SK Reform Act at kung makatutugon ito sa pangangailangan ng kabataan, (This is our chance to see whether the SK Reform Act would be effective and if it will respond to the needs of our youth),” he said.
It was Aquino who pushed for its passage as co-author and co-sponsor during his time as chairman of the Senate committee on youth during the 16th Congress.
The SK reform law adjusts the age limit for SK officials from 15-17 to 18-24 years old, making them legally capable of entering into contracts and be held accountable and liable for their actions.
Aquino said the SK Reform Act also requires SK officials to undergo leadership training programs to expose them to the best practices in governance and guide their development as leaders.
The new law also mandates the creation of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC), a council that would support the SK and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations, the senator said.