The House of Representatives is expected to pass on third reading anytime soon a bill that grants Sangguniang Kabataan kagawads honoraria and appropriate certificates of civil service eligibility.
House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda, principal author of the measure, said the measure would likely be enacted into law given that the Senate had also passed its own version of the proposal.
“With the Senate version already approved, and the House expected to approve this on final reading next week, we will likely see enactment. There is strong minority and majority support for the measure, so I expect very smooth sailing for this proposal,” Salceda, representative of Albay’s second district, said Wednesday.
House Bill 10698 substituted Salceda’s twin measures on the matter. HB 1030 proposes granting SK councilors the “barangay official eligibility” granted by the Civil Service Commission.
Meanwhile, House Bill 1667 provides SK councilors an honoraria. Under the current law, only SK chairpersons are entitled to the said benefit.
“If we want to professionalize the SK, we also have to ensure that its efforts are compensated. The SK were very crucial to the fight against COVID-19, as they were among the barangay frontliners that could be mobilized for ayuda distribution and module distribution,” Salceda said.
The bill entitles SK councilors to “honoraria, allowances, and such other emoluments as may be authorized by law.”
The reform also expands the functions of SKs to include skills training, youth employment, environmental protection, values education, and other programs specific to the vulnerabilities affecting young people.
It also mandates that the SK Treasurer must have a background in finance or accounting.
“I believe that the SK is still underutilized. We are giving them more benefits, but in return, we are also giving them more meaningful work,” Salceda added.
The reform also requires that each LGU appoint a local youth development officer to coordinate SK efforts.
“52 percent of Filipinos are below 24 years of age. The SK allows individuals up to 24 years of age to run for the SK. That means the majority of Filipinos are SK constituents. We should not neglect this crucial level of government,” Salceda said.
Salceda added he was optimistic the House would be able to enact the measure by naming its conferees next week so that the bicameral conference meetings could be held during the session break.
The Senate already approved its version of the measure under Senate Bill 2124.
“Hopefully, we can do bicam during the session break and ratify during the final six session days before the term expires after elections. Better yet, we can do bicam next week and even ratify by Wednesday next week, if the Senate and House leaders are willing,” Salceda added.