New Sangguniang Kabataan poll period
Michael Vencynth H. Braga and May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - January 23, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - In anticipation of another postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan elections this year, the Commission on Elections has moved the start of election pe-riod from January 22 to February 6, 2015.

This, as the Senate has agreed to reset the SK elections.

“There has been a plan to postpone the SK elections. However, the postponement could only be realized if there will be a law signed by the president,” said Comelec-Cebu election officer Ferdinand Gujilde.

He explained that the Comelec has made its initiative to move the election period since there might be a change of date for the coming SK elections set on February 21.

“Gi-move na lang ang election period kay useless man nga magsugod sa election period unya only to know nga dili diay madayon ang SK elections,” he said.

He further said that Lower House leaders have made proposals to reset the SK elections from February 21, 2015 to October 31, 2016 which will synchronize it with the barangay polls.

Last December, the House of Representatives approved the bill seeking postponement of SK elections to 2016 on the third and final reading.

The postponement of election period was articulated in the resolution issued by the Comelec en banc yesterday which seeks to amend the calendar of activities it had created for the youth council elections.

The election period supposedly started yesterday and ends on March 2, 2015.

Prohibited activities within this period includes establishment of a new SK precinct or alteration of its territory, “illegal release” of prisoners, carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons, and use of security personnel by the candidates.

Section 3 of the Omnibus Election Code allows the Comelec to fix the election period “in special cases”.

“After due deliberation, the Commission deemed that there are compelling reasons to warrant the amendment of the Election Period for the efficient management of pre-election activities in pursuit of its mandate to conduct clean, honest, orderly, peaceful, and credible February 21, 2015 SK Elections,” part of the resolution reads.

“The Election Period shall be from February 6 to March 2, 2015 (15 days before Election Day and nine days after). In view of this amendment, the Gun Ban and other prohibitions related to the Election Period shall be effective from February 6 to March 2, 2015. This Resolution shall take effect immediately,” it adds.

The Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations, all Departments of the Comelec, and the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel are also directed to implement the resolution.

Comelec-Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano earlier explained that the postponement of SK elections is an act of Congress and that the Comelec only has a mandate to implement it.

Police ready anyway

The Cebu Provincial Police Office is ready for the Sangguniang Kabataan elections and said that they will coordinate closely with the Commission on Elections for the security preparations.

The Comelec en banc decided that the gun ban will be enforced starting February 6 to March 2 anticipating the possibility of the postponement of the SK elections.

CPPO director Senior Superintendent Noel Gillamac told reporters that they have not identified areas of concern as of now but he assured that the police will continue conducting checkpoints and campaigns against loose firearms when the gun ban starts.

Gillamac said that they are now observing places that were considered areas of special concern during previous elections.

While he said that the SK elections are not as hotly contested as the other elections, he added the provincial police will not be complacent and will treat it like the previous polls.

“I want them to continuously do their job with the same vigor enthusiasm and efficiency just like an election kay for me whether it is an election or not we have to continue our crime prevention method,” Gillamac said. 

Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano who attended the Joint Security and Peace Coordinating Conference yesterday, said the police performed well during the last barangay elections, but added they have to look at the security preparations more closely.

“Mao gani I have asked the chief of police to review the security plans of the last elections, mao na among gi-fine tune karon,” Castillano said.

He added that as of now areas of concerns cannot be identified yet because the election period has yet to start and the filing of the certificate of candidacy will be on February 7 to 10.  Once the candidates are known the Comelec will decide if a barangay is hotly contested or not. — with Bryner L. Diaz/BRP (FREEMAN)


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