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BSP as autonomous NGO urged

CAMARINES Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has filed a bill that will recognize the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) as an independent, voluntary, autonomous non-governmental organization (NGO).

House Bill (HB) 7025 institutes a new charter for the BSP, which Villafuerte said “will also pave the way for the installation of a more concrete institution for youth development, making BSP more attuned to the changing calls of the time and to the growing challenges that our youth are facing everyday.”

HB 7025 envisions the BSP as an “independent, voluntary, non-stock, non-sectarian, non-political, autonomous NGO” that shall maintain its membership with the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM).

Villafuerte said declaring the BSP as an independent NGO auxiliary to the Republic of the Philippines is similar to the newly enacted Charter of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) under RA 10072.

He said that revving up the BSP as an independent NGO supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s tough policy against illicit drugs as HB 7025 aims to further encourage young Filipinos to go into scouting and shun harmful vices such as drug and alcohol abuse.

Villafuerte’s bill retains the President of the Philippines as the Chief Scout and the Vice President as the Vice Chief Scout, who will become honorary members of the BSP but are not deemed to be members of the organization’s National Executive Board (NEB), unless they are duly elected as members in accordance with the provisions of the BSP Act and By-Laws.

HB 7025 also ensures that the BSP continues to enjoy the privilege of being exempted from the payment of all kinds of taxes and duties.

BSP’s NEB will be its governing body.

Under the bill, the NEB will have as members the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd); Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG); and National President of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP).

The NEB’s members also include the regular chairmen of the geographical regions to be known as Scout Regions; and one Senior/Rover Scout each from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao areas, to be elected during the conference of Scouts ages 13-26 known as the Scout Youth Forum in their respective geographical areas.

The NEB will also include 12 regular members to be elected by the members of the National Council in its meeting called for this purpose; 15 additional members from the private sector; and the immediate past president of the Board as ex-officio member.

The NEB will have the following powers and functions:

a) To make and to amend the By-Laws subject to the ratification by a majority vote of the members present at a meeting of the National Council or at special meeting called for this purpose;

b) To authorize and cause to be executed mortgages and liens upon the property of the BSP by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the whole Board in a meeting called for this purpose;

c) To designate five or more of their members to constitute an executive or governing committee, of which a majority shall constitute a quorum, through a resolution passed by a majority of the whole Board.

Such Committee, to the extent provided in said resolution or in the By-Laws shall have, and exercise, the powers of the NEB in the management of the business affairs of the BSP, and may have the power to authorize the seal of the BSP to be affixed to all papers which may require it;

d) To create standing and special committees and appoint the chairmen and members thereof from among themselves by an affirmative vote of a majority of the whole Board.

Such standing committees shall exercise such powers as may be authorized by the By-Laws;

e) To dispose of, in any manner, a part or the whole property of the BSP with the consent in writing and pursuant to an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the National Council;

f) To hold regular meetings at a time and place to be designated in the By-Laws.

Special meetings of the Board may be called by the National President or upon such notice as may be prescribed in the By-Laws; and

g) Appoint and/or remove its officers in accordance with the By-Laws.

The BSP was established through Commonwealth Act 111 signed by then-President Manuel Quezon in 1936.

This law was amended in 1974 through Presidential Decree (PD) No. 460, and, again, in 1992 through Republic Act (RA) No. 7278.

In 2011, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that BSP is a public corporation that is subject to government audit.

As a result of this SC ruling, the Commission on Audit (COA) started auditing its financial transactions in 2012.

Villafuerte noted that the BSP’s significant role on youth development aids the school system to mold pupils and students into responsible citizens of the country.

“It has an exemplary contribution not only in achieving quality education but also in providing co-curricular program that prevents the youth in involving themselves to drugs and other vices. As such, membership and participation in Boy Scouting and its programs, projects and activities should be encouraged and supported by the schools,” he said.

“With all its insurmountable impact in the society, President Rodrigo Duterte as the Chief Scout, endorses the inclusion of the Scouting Program in the school curriculum and making Scouting membership mandatory in all schools,” Villafuerte added.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight