Challenge to youth: Break away from rotten system | Inquirer Opinion

Challenge to youth: Break away from rotten system

12:02 AM January 30, 2016

The passage of Republic Act No. 10742 or the “Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015” is in response to the public clamor and criticism against the rampant corruption and other issues that hounded the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) in the past. It is a reiteration of the Filipino youth and people’s fervent call to excise the rot that coopted a platform meant to allow youth participation in governance into a breeding ground for corruption.

From its inception as the Kabataang Barangay during the Marcos era, the SK has served the government establishment to subvert dissent and waylay the progressive youth movement. The change of name in 1991 did little to change the SK’s reactionary character.

At the crux of the debate regarding the SK is the institution’s integrity. The passage of RA 10742 is a recognition of the fact that the SK has indeed been transmogrified into a nursery for corrupt politicians, a breeding ground for the scions of political dynasties that would in time run for higher elective positions.


Many young leaders enter the SK full of youthful idealism and vigor—only to be poisoned by the insidious acts of elder officials who introduce them to a world of corruption and manipulation.


However, the greater task of reorienting the SK from being a training ground for trapo toward truly becoming a representative of the youth—advancing meaningful youth participation, promoting access to education and youth employment, and fighting for the delivery of basic social services for the youth sector—remains a daunting challenge.

We note how in the past years, in the absence of SKs, the current administration has attempted to use the transitory “Task Force on Youth Development” to gain political leverage at the local level as part of its grand preparation for the upcoming presidential election.

The task force has been empowered to formulate a “youth development plan and budget” and access the 10-percent SK allocation from the annual internal revenue allotment of the barangay. During this brief interregnum, there have been various reports on how then interior secretary and now Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas instructed barangay councils to appoint members of the task force who will agree to be part of the Liberal Party, and to formulate youth programs promoting his and his partymates’ candidacies in the upcoming national elections.

Such situation is one of the many examples that show how the establishment and the status quo that it serves can actually coopt well-meaning laws into serving partisan interests.

We thus call on the youth to remain critical and remember that genuine social change can only come about once we overhaul the dominant political system in the country, which is rotten, dynastic and reactionary. As long as this political system remains intact and unscathed, institutions like the SK can easily be coopted to circumvent and even suppress the youth and people’s call for genuine social change.

Our challenge to all future SK aspirants: Break away from this rotten system and bring progressive politics into the SK. Participate and lead in nation-building, even outside and beyond the SK. For if we limit ourselves to the confines of the SK, we run the risk of also limiting our political imagination to the boundaries of government, which more often than not result in the pursuit of cosmetic reforms.


The great task of bringing genuine social change is in the youth’s hands. It is our solemn duty to struggle collectively, in all possible platforms, and prove that we are, indeed, the hope of the nation.

—REP. TERRY L. RIDON, Kabataan Partylist, [email protected]

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TAGS: corruption, sangguniang kabataan

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