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Senate approves bill rescheduling barangay, SK polls to December 2023

Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Wednesday approved on the second reading Senate Bill No. 1306 rescheduling the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled this December to December 2023.

This came on the heels of a recent report by the Commission on Elections recently that it is "70% done and in full swing with the preparations despite proposals to postpone the BSKE elections" and “all systems go in procurement offices to ensure that ballots will be printed."

After senators moved to greenlight the bill, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva opened the period of individual amendments for a second time after a short suspension.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros then moved to amend the final date for the elections to be held on May 2023 instead of December 2023, but Sen. Imee Marcos, who chairs the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation, rejected this.

In the lower chamber, the progressive Makabayan bloc pointed out before their iteration of the measure was ultimately passed that should the polls be rescheduled for a fifth time in a row, some P18 billion will be allotted for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections next year, almost twice the P8.45 billion to be spent if the polls would happen this year.

But the Senate version of the bill mandates the Commission on Audit to submit an audit report on the budget used for the postponed December 5, 2022 barangay and Sanggunlang Kabataan elections within 90 days from the effectivity of the act.

Another new section on appropriations also says: "The amount necessary for the implementation of this Act shall be taken from the appropriations of the Commission on Elections under the General Appropriations Act and/or supplementary appropriations thereafter: Provided that the additional budget for the barangay and sanggunlang kabataan elections to be held on the second Monday of December 2023 shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the budget allocation for the postponed December 5, 2022 barangay and sanggunlang kabataan elections."

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