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Councilors differ views on polls deferment

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City councilors are divided on the decision of the House of Representatives postponing this year's barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said that he is in favor of the postponement of barangay and SK elections this year if it helps make way for federalism.

“Pabor ko nga i-postpone if the reason really is they are doing this kay ilahang idungan sa plebiscite ba na, referendum ba na. Uyon ko because I am for federalism. If this is to pave way for federalism then I am for it,” he told reporters yesterday.

He added that there is a possibility that the May 2018 election will also be postponed.

Councilor James Anthony Cuenco shared the same opinion as Garcia, but added that he hopes this would be the last postponement.

“Pirmi nalang uncertain. It has to be with finality na gyud. Ingon sila May 2018. So be it, I hope last na na,” he said.

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Councilor Jose Daluz III said he is also in favor of the postponement, adding that the interval between barangay elections should be longer than three years.

“Pabor ko sa postponement as of this time, I would rather taas-taas pa nga postponement ibutang nalang sa five years. We have done that before. Ako bitaw, pagka barangay councilor nako, gi-postpone amo eleksyon from 3 years to five years. So nindot nga five years. I am okay with that,” he said.

On the other hand, Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover Jr., said that the continuous postponement of barangay and SK elections weakens the democratic foundation of the country.

“When I was in Congress my advocacy is to strengthen the barangay system… In fact daghan ko’g bills sa Congress nga lig-onon gyud ang mga barangay because the barangay is the very foundation of our government. If you have a very good barangay, you have very good government kay mao may foundation nato,” he said.

Alcover also said that with the postponement of the October elections, it seems that the administration exercises a dictatorship form of government, because it is depriving the public the right to choose for their leaders through an election.

For his part, Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr. said whether the elections will push through or not, it does not change the fact that there's work that needs to be done.

“Madayon o dili, trabaho ra man gyud mi. For those barangay nga dili amo (affiliated with BOPK party) ang kapitan amo raman sila hangyoon nga cooperate lang mo sa programa nga maayo,” he said.

Last Monday, the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading the bill for postponing the elections to May 2018.

To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte wanted the bill passed because he did not want drug money to be involved in the elections following reports that some barangay officials are involved in the illegal drug trade.

If this bill will be approved, this would be the second time the barangay and SK elections are postponed. (FREEMAN)

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