SK poll deferment gets more support-A A +A
Saturday, September 7, 2013
MANILA -- National and local officials are almost unanimous in calling for the postponement of the October 2013 Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) elections, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said.
"Based on our national consultations with various groups comprised of local executives, youth groups and SK, it was near unanimous that they want the postponement of the SK polls to give Congress ample time to strengthen the system, so that it won't deter our political development," Roxas said in a recent briefing of the House committee on appropriations.
Undersecretary for Local Government Austere Panadero affirmed Roxas statement, saying that the political system in the SK level needs to undergo reform.
"There is near unanimity that the system should be changed. The conclusion is that there needs to be a performance evaluation for it to be vital in governance," Panadero said.
Earlier, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the poll body prefers an "indefinite suspension" of the SK elections.
With only a month before the polls, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II assured that Congress has enough time to enact a law postponing the SK elections.
"The House of Representatives can still enact a measure for the postponement especially if the President certifies it as urgent measure," Gonzales said.
On Tuesday, September 10, the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms is set to discuss several bills pushing for the deferment of the barangay and SK elections.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Wednesday the Senate committee on local government will recommend the postponement of the SK polls citing reforms that needed to be put in place before the next SK elections are held.
The Comelec and Congress leaders are set to discuss in a meeting this week the possible postponement of the SK elections, which coincides with the barangay elections on October 28.
While waiting for Congress' decision, Brillantes said Tuesday that they would continue to prepare for the October polls.
In fact, preparations are underway, including the printing of the official ballots, which started last Wednesday, September 4.
Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia said about 2.5 million official ballots were printed by the National Printing Office (NPO) as of Friday, September 6.
The ballots being printed do not include those to be used for the SK polls.
"We will not wait for the resolution but, at a certain point in time, we have to make a decision. This is because, if we wait for it, we might run out of time to print (if it is not postponed)," Guia said.
The poll official said they will wait until the end of the month before they finally decide on whether or not to proceed with the printing of the more than three million SK ballots.
"We just have to take the risk of printing them so that they can make it to the deployment of the ballots for the barangay," Guia added.
He said that printing early would avoid suffering the same fate by 2010, wherein there were recorded delays in the delivery of official ballots and other election paraphernalia in several areas.
Guia said they hope to finish printing all the estimated 52 million ballots within 28 days to one month.
"Our scheduled deployment would be on October 17 or 18. Five days before that, we hope to complete the printing of the official ballots," said Guia.
The official ballots will be thicker than the traditional barangay and SK ballots since the ballot paper used are similar to those used in the May 13 midterm polls. (Kathrina Alvarez/HDT/Sunnex)