Support the SKs to Access and Use their Budget to Serve the Youth

To date, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SKs) have yet to receive their budget over a year already since they got elected.

Upon the request of the SKs that Government Watch (G-Watch) are engaging in Empowering Youth to Lead Accountability (EYLA), G-Watch has sent a letter on March 28, 2019 to concerned agencies, namely:

- Department of Budget and Management (DBM)
- Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
- Commission on Audit (COA)
- National Youth Commission (NYC)

The letter says this:

“G-Watch is implementing a project entitled Strengthening the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) as an Accountability Mechanism in Local Governance or SK as G-Watch Project that aims to capacitate the SKs in monitoring Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), a key poverty reduction program of the government, to enable the SKs to be a key stakeholder in accountability of poverty reduction programs. The ‘SK as G-Watch’ Project involves the development of monitoring initiative, conduct of monitoring, processing of monitoring results and advocacy of recommendations and ways forward. It is being piloted in about 20 barangays in three cities: Maasin, Southern Leyte, Samal and Quezon City.

In recent consultations conducted by G-Watch under the ‘SK as G-Watch’ project, we were informed by SK leaders that they have not yet received their budget since assuming office in 2018. As an organization aiming to strengthen and empower the SK in accountability, we are concerned about this news and would like to ask for an explanation from your good office why there is such a huge delay, along with our appeal for an expedited release of funds of the SK.”

The response we got from COA and DBM was quick. They said SKs need to comply first with the guidelines. DILG also just simply referred us to the guidelines.

The guidelines that is being referring to is uploaded on DBM website: It is dated January 23, 2019, but only recently that we saw it online. We even had to look for it.

SKs we engage told us they heard of the guidelines, but are not properly informed/ oriented of it. SK reform advocates have also not been briefed.

G-Watch checked the guidelines. In light of the SK Reform Law, there are new requirements in the guidelines that SKs need to comply to support their fiscal independence, such as the setting up of bank account. SKs will need support and assistance to comply to the guidelines as soon as possible.

This batch of SKs will end their term next year, yet they have not received any amount from the appropriations allotted to them. The lack of assistance and guidance is the hurdle that is keeping them from performing.

NYC is mandated to support the SKs, especially since the officials of SK national federation have yet to elected, which the NYC too should be facilitating. The DILG also has the mandate to assist the SKs since SKs are integral part of barangay governance.

NYC has yet to respond to our letter. To date, concerned agencies have not given any explanation to this negligence or ample information on how this problem is being resolved as soon as possible.

SKs are created to enable the youth to take part in governance. It is supposed to be the training ground for future leaders of the country. This case of blatant negligence on the part of national agencies’ in supporting/ guiding the SK to comply with some requirements for them to use their budget to serve the youth is another example of how the old, particularly those in government, are failing the young possibly setting an example of inefficiencies, bad governance and abuse of authority.

We reiterate our call on all concerned agencies, especially DILG and NYC, to resolve this concern as soon as possible and enable the SKs to use their budget in service of the youth.