‘6-year term for barangay, SK officials too long’

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
�6-year term for barangay, SK officials too long�
People cast their votes during the presidential election at a polling station in Manila on May 9, 2022.
AFP / Chaideer Mahyuddin

MANILA, Philippines — A six-year term for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) is too long and proposals should instead shorten them to five years, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said over the weekend.

Instead of current versions of proposals for a six-year term for such elected officials, they should be in office for five years only and be subjected to re-election for only two terms, according to Comelec Chairman George Garcia.

“Six years seems like too long of a time (for barangay and SK officials to sit in office). Maybe five years would do,” Garcia said in an interview aired over radio station dzBB last Saturday.

“Maybe, they can consider, in my own personal opinion, five years and subject them to re-election for only two terms,” he added.

The Comelec chairman is referring to Senate Bill 1195 filed by Sen. Imee Marcos last month, which seeks to amend the Local Government Code to extend the term of barangay and SK officials to six years for a sustainable continuity of programs.

Currently, such officials only serve for three years.

While stressing that they are still on track for the barangay and SK elections this December, the Comelec has opted to reschedule the printing of ballots as well as the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) to next month.

The last barangay elections were held in 2018, but winning candidates’ terms were extended until Jan. 1, 2023 due to several poll postponements.

“When the COCs are filed early and then our election is postponed, neighbors who suddenly found out that they filed for candidacy or the relatives who are a little bit against each other will not talk to each other for a whole year,” Garcia said.

“Adjustments for a little bit were made so that somehow, we have a little bit of leeway and we won’t fight over who will run immediately in the coming elections. But don’t worry again, the Comelec is ready for Dec. 5, 2022,” he added.

The Comelec earlier promulgated a resolution that moved the dates of the filing of COCs from Oct. 22 to Oct. 29, and the election period and gun ban from Nov. 6 to Dec. 20.

While the Comelec braces for the scheduled Dec. 5 elections, both houses of Congress are reviewing proposals to postpone this to next year.

The Senate has already approved the measure on second and final reading, while the House of Representatives already approved its version on third and final reading.

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