Sen. Imee Marcos, who chairs the committee, said all stakeholders, including the Commission on Elections (Comelec), have reached an agreement not to prolong the term of barangay and SK officials.
Mong Pintolo/File
Senate committee supports postponement of village, youth polls
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on electoral reforms is recommending the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October 2022 to May 2023, Sen. Imee Marcos said yesterday.

Marcos, who chairs the committee, said all stakeholders, including the Commission on Elections (Comelec), have reached an agreement not to prolong the term of barangay and SK officials.

“So if there is the May 2022 national elections, they (Comelec) don’t want a scenario where the next election is by October or November,” she announced in Filipino during the hearing of the Senate committee on local government that discussed the magna carta for barangays.

In preparing the report, Marcos said she took into consideration the preference of Comelec to hold the poll in May in consideration of the weather.

“May is a good time to have the elections. In October, normally, the weather is not good as compared with May,” former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said during the Senate hearing.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, President Duterte called on lawmakers to pass a bill postponing the May 2020 barangay and SK polls to 2022 to give more time for elected officials to complete their programs and projects after the elections were held in 2018.

Marcos said her committee also recognized the opinion of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that the elections should be moved from May 2020 to May 2021.

Drilon said holding the polls in May 2021 was “reasonable” as it would allow incumbent barangay and SK officials to complete their term of three years, as stated under the Local Government Code.

As a compromise, Marcos said the ideal time is May 2023.

Marcos said the committee report also contained the recommendation of a fixed three-year term for barangay and SK elections, which have been suspended and postponed for about seven to eight times now.

Thus, the committee report recommended that the May 2023 barangay and SK elections follow the 2022 national and presidential elections and in May 2026, after the May 2025 national and local elections.

While Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian initially proposed to institutionalize a five-year fixed term for the barangay and SK polls, he later said that the elections for the leaders of the smallest unit of government should not depend on the whims of politicians.

“The point is to institutionalize the term limit. What is happening now is this depends on the whims of politicians –whether to extend to one or two or more depending on where the wind blows, which is not good in the culture of planning,” Gatchalian said partly in Filipino.

He found an ally in Sen. Francis Tolentino, who said the fixed term is “to give more stability and predictability for purposes of planning.”

BARANGAY ELECTION IMEE MARCOS SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN
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