Share |

Legazpi Bishop Calls for SK Abolition

CBCP Youth head slams rampant vote buying in SK polls

MANILA, Oct. 30, 2010-The head of the Catholic hierarchy's youth apostolate has joined clamors for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan following incidents of vote buying and vote selling in the recent Barangay and SK polls.

In a pastoral statement entitled "Corrupting our Minors, Corrupting the Future" (see page 8) issued Saturday, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon affirmed the large scope and magnitude of "corruption and cheating" during the elections in his diocese alone.

"We, the Bishop and the Clergy of the Diocese of Legazpi, condemn in the strongest terms this culture of vote buying and cheating that has corrupted our people, especially our youth," said Baylon.

"We are calling for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan. This institution may have lofty goals and some positive contributions but has been found generally wanting."

Baylon chairs the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The prelate noted that in some places, vote-buying for the position of SK chairman reached as high as P1,500.

There were also cases, he lamented, where young voters were "quartered" in various beach resorts and other places prior to and during the Election Day by "political patrons."

"Most shocking," the prelate said, were widespread stories of parents of SK bets who funded, supported and pushed their children to bribe other youths into voting for them.

"It (SK) has failed in teaching the young the values of democracy and the skills for good governance. Far from being an empowering presence, it has become a corrupting influence on our youth," Baylon said.

"The problem is not with our young people but in the political structure and culture where the SK operates," he added.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo earlier said there is a need to abolish the SK council since it has not proven itself to be functional and effective in delivering its services.

But Bishop Baylon clarified that the youth should not be stifled, as there is still a clear need for youth representation in governance.

He also said that the training of the young should not be stymied, and there is a definite need for their political empowerment. "But not in the manner and form of the current SK," he stressed.

"Mere reforms in the SK will not resolve its inherent flaws, its recidivist nature and its sorry state of affairs. It has to be abolished, only then can we make way for better representation and genuine empowerment of the youth," Baylon said. (CBCPNews)