A House leader on Wednesday pushed for a monthly honorarium for Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) kagawad, the hiring of an SK Treasurer and Secretary, and more responsibilities and civil service standards for the SK.
In his remarks to the Technical Working Group commissioned by the House committee on local government to craft the final version of the bill, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda “compensating SK officials sends a strong signal that the State expects the degree of professionalism and dedication it expects of other paid government officials. It signifies that the State takes seriously the work of the SK.”
Salceda, chairperson of the House committee on ways and means, is the principal author of House Bill No. 1667 or the Expanded Sangguniang Kabataan Benefits Act.
“In terms of demographic consistency, the Sangguniang Kabataan is the most representative level of government in a country whose median age is 23. That is why I am a believer in making the SK a stronger institution. Let’s invest in them, and also expect better work from them,” he said.
“The barangay system has, within itself, institutionally embedded dynamism in the form of the Sangguniang Kabataan. Long maligned as a ‘breeding ground’ for traditional politics, the Sangguniang Kabataan is actually a potent instrument of governance, if we can strengthen it,” Salceda added.
Under Salceda’s bill, SK kagawad will receive half the salary of a barangay kagawad. This amounts to around P6,250 even as benefits may vary depending on the income classification of the barangay.
“Given this institutionalization in pay, we have to clarify our expectations of the SK. As we will be employing secretaries and treasurers for the SK, we must also impose standard auditing rules and procedures. Rules of ethical conduct for government officials must similarly apply to the SK,” Salceda said.
“The SK was a prisoner of low expectations. We did not want to expect much of the SK because we as a nation-state did not invest enough in the institution either. With this bill, I hope we will release the SK from this quandary of low expectations and low investment, and truly realize its potential as a basic building block of representative governance,” he added.