Neophyte senator nixes SK abolition, favors meaningful reforms, measures

April 9, 2014 8:42 am 

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna April 8 — One of the sponsors of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or the government’s sanctioned youth council while serving then as congressman nixed for its abolition and instead proposed reforms to improve the system now that he is a Senator.

Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, in a media conference with the Calabarzon regional media organization and student leaders expressed optimism the Senate will pass the SK Reform Act before the year ends and looked forward to the new law calling for an improved system.

Despite the Senate recess, the Senator from San Juan City welcomed the visiting Calabarzon media practitioners and student leaders and responded to newmen’s and coeds’ queries.

As a former student leader, Sen. JV believed that the SK system is flawed and so he is averse to abolishing it but favors the need for reforms on the youth council law.

For instance, Sen. JV proposed to raise the age requirement from 17 to 24 because the youths in “these age range are much more mature, responsible and make their involvement more effective.”

The Senator also called for concerned government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to help the youth sector with thousands of graduates yearly through the agencies’ concerted actions to address jobs mismatch.

“I fought to increase the budget of our SUCs with the aim to raise the standard of living in every Filipino family by producing at least a college graduate in the family,” Sen. Ejercito said.

He said the concerned government departments can determine the jobs available and match these with jobs and opportunities.

Ejercito also disclosed his talks with SUC presidents and administrators who told the former the state educational institutions offered courses that are “hot” because of survival.

The Senator commented they (SUCs) are not supposed to be offering these hot courses but the private universities and colleges that have since offered nursing, information technology (IT) and hotel and restaurant management.

“The SUCs should focus on agriculture and fisheries but because of insufficient budget or subsidy from the national government, the SUCs are forced to offer these “hot” courses and this situation results to oversupply of graduates,” Sen. Ejercito noted.

He led legislative efforts increasing the budget of SUCs by 40 percent to avert tuition hikes yet recommending to them to offer courses for which they were envisioned to provide incentives for agriculture and fisheries.

Ejercito also opposed government plans to remove subsidies on education citing this contravenes the country’s Constitutional provision for the state’s support to education at all levels and in support to putting premium on human resource as greatest wealth.

“I will still pursue this as my advocacy for higher subsidy in education in the coming years,” Ejercito said citing the lawmaker’s 40 percent increase initiative was the first in 12 years.

Retorting to some political issues raised against members of the Ejercito clan, Senator JV only hoped these are not orchestrated but just mere coincidence.

“As a legislator, I have to weigh in to be more responsible and accountable to the people who voted for me than my responsibilities for my family. Millions of Filipinos voted for me and I will honestly serve them in accordance with the mandate, trust and their vote of confidence in me,” the Senator said.

Like all expectations, Sen. JV looked forward to a fair and impartial trial of the case upholding due process and observing fair and impartial court process so that this would neither be our justice system’s burden nor a distraction in our respective work.

He reiterated his support for the filing of the PDAF cases before the proper court like the Ombudsman filing the case with the Sandiganbayan.

During the fair trial, persons involved have to face the charges and punishments are meted out for the guilty and face the consequences of their actions. But, this too provides the opportunities for the innocent to clear their names, Ejercito said.

He also supported Senate move to constitute the Ethics Committee but pending the committee to convene, due process will stop the political “angles” as the proper court trial and legal processes are observed.

“We have to move on not only to protect the Senate as an institution but also to focus on its legislation function to craft more vital laws and measures,” Ejercito stressed.

He also said it is a challenge for the Senate Blue ribbon committee to continue its investigation not only on the 11 Napoles network of non-government organizations (NGOs) but all those involved in the close to 80 bogus NGOs uncovered by the COA.

On foreign relations with China, Senator JV declared support for the government’s stand to fight for sovereignty at all cost and exhaust all diplomatic and peaceful means but opposed to resolving this matter by military action. (PNA)



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