By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) youth leaders to shun corruption and to utilize the funds allocated to them in accordance with the law.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya reminded SK officials of their sworn duties to render public service with honesty and integrity.
Lawmakers have supported calls to abolish the SK group saying the youth are being exposed to corruption at such an early age.
The lawmakers even coined the adage “so young and yet so corrupt’’ in obvious reference to dishonest youth leaders.
“The development agenda for the youth sector cannot be further delayed. SK officials in every locality should now get the ball rolling so that they can already carry out projects that are meant to promote the interests and welfare of the youth,” said Malaya.
He called on SK officials to start utilizing their respective budgets in adherence to the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), DILG, and the National Youth Commission (NYC) last January 23.
Malaya noted that pending the issuance of the Commission on Audit (COA)’s guidelines on SK financial transactions, the SK may start using their budgets “provided they comply with the requirements of the DBM-DILG-NYC Joint Memorandum Circular.”
The said JMC No. 1, series of 2019, provides guidelines on the appropriation, release, planning, and budgeting process for the SK funds.
Malaya explained the JMC provides the guide on the complete budget process for the SK, to include the budget execution phase or the disbursement of funds.
We need not wait for the COA guidelines because COA has given the SK the go signal to use their funds in accordance with the JMC which in itself details the procedures on how they can disburse their respective budgets. Any COA requirement to be issued outside of the JMC will be applied prospectively,” Malaya said.
In order to facilitate SK fund disbursement, Malaya advised all SK chairpersons to open a current bank account in the name of the SK, preferably in a government-owned bank situated in or nearest to its area of jurisdiction.
“We strongly encourage the SK to open and maintain a depository account in the same bank and branch of its barangay for efficiency and economy purposes,” he added.
The SK chairperson and SK treasurer, as the accountable officials, should likewise apply for fidelity bonding.
The SK is also required to formulate a three-year rolling plan called the Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Plan (CBYDP), which shall be the basis for the preparation of the Annual Barangay Youth Investment Program (ABYIP) and SK annual budget.
Furthermore, SK officials must attend mandatory training programs conducted by the DILG, NYC, and the authorized training providers in accordance with DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2018-48, as well as continuing training programs on the Government Procurement Reform Act, Manual on Financial Transactions of the SK, the proper utilization of SK fund, the accounting and auditing rules and regulations, and any other relevant trainings which will help them carry out their functions effectively and efficiently.
The SK Reform Act mandates that 10 percent of the general fund of barangays shall be set aside for the SK, which shall be appropriated in lump sum and distributed solely for youth development and empowerment purposes. The law further states that the SK shall have financial independence in its operations, disbursements, and encashment of their fund, income, and expenditures.
Malaya said the DILG, through the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), has directed its regional and field offices to monitor and report the utilization of the SK funds within their respective areas.
He noted that the NYC, a newly attached agency of the DILG, will be releasing a flowchart of the guidelines on the release of SK funds very soon.