Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV has introduced a bill seeking to expand the benefits of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials by providing them with monetary compensation.
Aquino said Senate Bill No. 2140, or the Act Providing Compensation to Sangguniang Kabataan Officials, seeks to ensure that SK officials are free from partisan politics.
"Providing regular compensation for SK officials through the law will ensure that our youth leaders will not be dependent nor feel indebted to local government officials and politicians for resources and support," Aquino explained.
Under the bill, the SK secretary and treasurer will be entitled to compensation and allowances equivalent to three-fourths (3/4) of the monthly allowance received by the Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson.
On the other hand, the other SK officials will be entitled to P500 per month in addition to any other compensation provided by this act.
The honorarium will be granted at the end of every regular monthly SK meeting, provided that the official is present during the meeting.
The current law does not provide monetary compensation for the SK secretary, treasurer and other officials. They are, however, exempted from paying tuition and matriculation fees in any public tertiary schools, including state colleges and universities as well as locally funded educational institutions; provided with Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) coverage; exempted from taking the National Service Training Program-Civic Welfare Training Service (NSTP-CWTS) subjects, excused from attending regular classes, if currently enrolled in school, while attending the regular or special SK meetings and the sangguniang barangay sessions; and entitled to travelling reimbursements as may be authorized by law and subject to the availability of funds.
Under Republic Act No. 10742, also known as the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015, the SK chairperson automatically serves as an ex-officio member of the sangguniang barangay upon assumption to office and as such enjoy the same privileges as regular sangguniang barangay members. He or she is also entitled to pro-rate honoraria for every session of the sangguniang barangay he/she has attended.
Aquino worked for the passage of the SK Reform Act to encourage and inspire more youth to participate in nation building.
"Encouraging the spirit of volunteerism in the SK was one of the main principles behind our pushing for the SK Reform law back in 2015. But we also recognize the need to compensate the SK officials for the work that they do and the time and resources that they give as we expect them to deliver the best leadership and service to their youth constitutents and community," Aquino said.