Bohol First District Representative Rene L. Relampagos called for the establishment of a Youth Development Council to allow broader and active participation of the Filipino youth in public governance and decision making and to empower young leaders to become agents of change.
The youth council, Relampagos explained, is seen to serve as a springboard for genuine reforms and youth representation in both national and local levels of government.
â€œThe Filipino youth comprises almost one-third of the countryâ€™s total population. Given their large share in our population, the youth increasingly plays a huge role in the development of our nation. Dr. Jose Rizal once said, â€˜The youth is the hope of our motherlandâ€™. It is, therefore, important to ensure that they are fully engaged in decisions that affect their daily lives,â€ Relampagos stressed.
Under the proposed â€œYouth Development Council Act of 2015â€ authored by Relampagos, the Council shall be composed of youth leaders or representatives from various organizations irrespective of the nature of organization where they belong such as but not limited to the academe, the church and the farming sector.
These councils shall be established in every barangay, city/municipality and province and are responsible for the formulation of polices and implementation of youth development programs, projects and activities in their respective areas of jurisdiction in coordination with various government and non-government organizations.
Moreover, The Council shall formulate and adopt a five-year city/municipal youth development plan which shall be duly supported by an ordinance to be enacted by the Sangguniang Panglungsod/Pambayan for review by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepED), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the National Youth Council (NYC). Said plan shall form the basis for the implementation of local youth development programs and services such as scholarship, livelihood, sports, arts and culture, health, environment and tourism.
Under the measure, a youth desk or a youth development office with designated staff/coordinator whose term is co-terminous with those of the local executives shall be established in each locality to ensure that the programs are well implemented.
The budget that will be utilized for the creation of the council including all operational expenses shall be charged against the local government unitâ€™s 10% Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the youth
â€œWhile existing laws on youth participation are set in place and implemented, the growing complexities of problems surrounding the youth such as â€˜old-styleâ€™ or â€˜traditional politicsâ€™, undermine the true spirit of youth participation in local governance as evidenced by the growing criticisms questioning the wisdom and practicability of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) which has eventually become a breeding ground for corruption,â€ Relampagos said.
â€œThere really has to be a genuine space for youth participation in order to make meaningful reforms. Hence, this measure aims to broaden the influence and participation of the youth in community and local affairs by providing them the autonomy to come up with programs and projects that will truly benefit the nation as a whole,â€ he added.