Youth Political Participation and Governance in the Philippines 5 Years Since the Ratification of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Law

44 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2022 Last revised: 22 Nov 2023

See all articles by Leon Flores III

Leon Flores III

Ateneo de Manila University - Ateneo School of Government

Kier Jesse Ballar

School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University

Jurel Yap

School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University

Imelda Deinla, PhD

University of New England; School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University

Date Written: February 3, 2022

Abstract

Six years ago, Republic Act (RA) 10742 or the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Act of 2015 was signed into law to enact key reforms to the Sangguniang Kabataan. While the SK Reform Law has been in place for six years, there has been no studies measuring the impact of the SK Reform Law on youth governance and political participation in the Philippines. This study addresses the lack of literature on the SK Reform Law by providing an academic examination of the law’s effects on youth political participation, governance, and in limiting nepotism and political dynasties in the Philippines.

To examine the impact of the SK Reform Law, a survey on youth leaders across the Philippines was conducted from June 8 to August 31, 2021. In the survey, 246 out of the 1,634 (15%) LGUs in the Philippines were represented through either its i) SK Federation President, ii) Local Youth Development Officer, and iii) Local Youth Development Council Members. The content of the survey focused mainly on assessing the impact of the key reform elements of the SK Reform Law. To supplement the survey data, a focus group discussion (FGD) with 11 participants was also conducted. Further, an expert discussion with key institutional stakeholders related to the SK — such as the National Youth Commission (NYC), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), concerned Senate and House Committees, and the Tayo Na Collaboratory, Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) — was also conducted for an in-depth study of the impact of SK law. Following a descriptive analysis of the survey data, FGD responses, and expert discussion responses the study uncovered key challenges to the SK Reform Law.

The study shows that, while youth leaders positively received the involvement of the LYDCs, many LGUs in the country still lack LYDCs. The study recommends that the DILG and NYC monitor LGUs more closely to allow more LGUs to establish their LYDCs. Support for youth organizations and youth-serving organizations across the country should also be strengthened. Further, opportunities, such as continued alignment, expectations-setting and an inclusive but dynamic engagement between SKs and LYDCs could be utilized to foster stronger coordination and collaboration between the two institutions.

Results show that, while the age reform provision of the SK Reform Law was well-received by youth leaders, there has been confusion regarding the language of the law. The study recommends that the age reform provision be amended to “below 25 years of age” to reduce the confusion on the age requirement. Further, information campaigns would be needed to ensure clarity on the age requirement — preventing unnecessary inconvenience and legal challenges to youth leaders. Additionally, a significant number of instances concerning violations to the age reform provision was also reported by the survey respondents — with no cases filed for about half of the reported instances.

The study also observes that a significant number of SK Federation Presidents reported that they were not able to pass their Local Youth Development Plan (LYDP) either for 2019, 2020, or for both 2019 and 2020. The study recommends the support for the agenda-making of SK leaders to pass their LYDPs. Refreshers by the DILG and NYC on the LYDP and other submissions pertinent to SKs, LYDCs, and LYDOs should also be conducted. The study also shows that legislative effectiveness has not been consistent among SK Federation Presidents — skills training, such as ordinance drafting, public speaking and debate, constituency building and advocacy, negotiations skills, and project management, could help SK Federation Presidents improve their capacity to pass resolutions or ordinance outputs.

Results also show that, while respondents agree that financial independence is crucial in implementing projects and programs, youth leaders lamented the lack of training and complex processes involved. As such, a refocused and simplified training on financial management should be made available to youth leaders to ensure judicious use of their funds. Further, the study also recommends that more training be made available to LYDOs as the level of training for LYDO remains inconsistent. Additionally, barangay officials should be reminded of the provisions relating to the financial independence of the SKs to lessen conflict between barangay officials and SK leaders.

A significant number of youth leaders also reported that they were aware of SK leaders in their area who violated the anti-dynasty provision of the SK Reform Law. Further, they indicated that no cases were filed against the SK leaders who violated the SK Reform Law. The study recommends a legal remedy or relief on violations to the SK Reform Law, wherein corresponding institutions, such as the DILG or COMELEC, would institutionalize a whistle-blower type of reporting to violations of the SK Reform Law. This would allow the identity of the complainant to be protected, while processing the complaint accordingly.

The SK Reform Law brings with it innovations that have strengthened the role of the youth in society. Fine-tuning of the SK Reform Law implementation is needed to further ensure that the innovative reforms of the SK Reform Law be executed. A thorough examination of proposed amendments to the SK Reform Law should be conducted.

Keywords: Sangguniang Kabataan, Youth Participation, Local Governance, Philippines, Public Policy

Suggested Citation

Flores, Leon and Ballar, Kier Jesse and Yap, Jurel and Imelda, Deinla, Youth Political Participation and Governance in the Philippines 5 Years Since the Ratification of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Law (February 3, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4024887 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4024887

Leon Flores

Ateneo de Manila University - Ateneo School of Government ( email )

Pacifico Ortiz Hall, Fr. Arrupe Road
Social Development Complex, Loyola Heights
Quezon City, Manila 1108
Philippines

Kier Jesse Ballar

School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University ( email )

ASOG – Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Heights
Quezon City, Metro Manila 1108
Philippines

Jurel Yap (Contact Author)

School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University ( email )

Pacifico Ortiz Hall, Fr. Arrupe Road
Social Development Complex, Loyola Heights
Quezon City, Manila 1108
Philippines

Deinla Imelda

University of New England ( email )

Armidale
Armidale, New South Wales 2351
Australia

School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University ( email )

Pacifico Ortiz Hall, Social Development Complex
Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezo
Quezon City, 1108
Philippines

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