400K new voters eyed in barangay, SK polls

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star
400K new voters eyed in barangay, SK polls
Residents wait in line to submit their voter’s application form during the resumption of registration at a mall in Cebu City on Monday.
Aldo Banaynal / The FREEMAN

MANILA, Philippines — Up to 400,000 new voters are expected to participate in the ongoing registration in preparation for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in December, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“Base po sa pagtatala namin, kung tayo po ay nasa 65 million plus, inaasahan na madadagdagan ito ng mga around 300,000 to 400,000... Aabot ang ating registered voters sa barangay ng around 66 million,” Comelec acting spokesman Rex Laudiangco said during yesterday’s Laging Handa forum.

He said around 23 million voters are seen to participate in the SK elections as the Comelec is accepting registrants who will turn 15  before December.

Laudiangco said the resumption of voter registration, which would run until July 23 including weekends and holidays, will not be extended.

He said under Republic Act 8189, the Comelec will no longer be allowed to conduct voter registration 120 days before the elections.

Laudiangco said the Comelec has yet to release the calendar of activities for the barangay and SK elections, even as he noted that the filing of certificates of candidacy is usually held not less than 15 days before election day.

He said the Comelec would allot around 10 days for the campaign period since the barangay and SK elections are held manually. The proclamation of winners can be immediately held at the polling centers after the canvassing of votes, he added.

Laudiangco reiterated that the poll body is preparing for the holding of the barangay and SK elections, but it is up to Congress to decide whether to postpone the political exercise.

Several congressmen are pushing for the postponement of the barangay and SK elections ostensibly to save the government billions in funds, which they claim can be used in the response to the COVID pandemic.

Opponents of the proposal, on the other hand, say it is just meant to reward barangay officials who supported the lawmakers and the UniTeam of President Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte in the May elections.

Barangay officials are supposed to be neutral during elections. The barangay and SK polls, which should be held every three years, have been postponed thrice since 2018.

This year’s elections should have been held in May 2020.



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