BSKE bets urged to ensure free, fair, peaceful polls

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
BSKE bets urged to ensure free, fair, peaceful polls
Commission on Elections (Comelec), government agencies, and concerned sectors hold a briefing and security command conference for the upcoming Barangay and SK elections (BSKE) at Camp Crame in Quezon City on August 22, 2023.
Michael Varcas / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos has urged those running for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.

During a peace covenant signing in Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Maguindanao del Sur over the weekend, Abalos said barangay officials should serve as model citizens to their constituents as they are the national government’s “frontliners” in delivering public service to the people.

“It is important that we serve as a model for our constituents. You will serve the parents and children in your respective areas, especially the weak ones,” he said in his speech during the signing ceremony in Barangay Adaon.

Candidates and voters of different barangays in Datu Anggal Midtimbang joined the peace covenant signing.

Maguindanao del Sur Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu, Vice Gov. Nathaniel Midtimbang, Mayor Maryjoy Estephanie Midtimbang and local police officials also signed the peace accord.

“I am asking that nobody should resort to violence, no vote buying as the future of the youth, barangay, municipalities, provinces and country will be in the hands of those who will win (the barangay and SK elections),” Abalos said.

Before the event, the Department of the Interior and Local Government chief was briefed about the peace and order situation in Region 12 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at the Police Regional Office 12 headquarters in Tambler, General Santos City.

He urged police officers to review election laws and exercise maximum tolerance while providing security assistance on the ground.

“There must be proper training here, and remember, you are wearing the Philippine National Police uniform, you are the authority on the ground,” Abalos said.

President Marcos has declared Oct. 30 as a special non-working day nationwide to allow Filipinos to cast their votes.

Meanwhile, party-list groups intending to participate in the May 2025 elections have until yearend to file their Manifestation of Intent to Participate.

“The Manifestation of Intent to Participate in the party-list elections for the May 2025 national and local elections may be filed until Dec. 29, 2023 only,” the Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced in a resolution.

The Comelec previously set the deadline for the filing of Petitions for Registration of party-lists also on Dec. 29.

Party-list organizations are required to file their Manifestation of Intent to Participate in the immediately succeeding party-list elections alongside their Petitions for Registration, according to the poll body.

The Comelec, however, allows both existing and registering party-list organizations to submit their names of nominees on a later date. — Mayen Jaymalin

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