THE Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Davao confirmed on Wednesday, September 20, that there will be no election for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) for this year, after its central office earlier postponed the election in the entire Mindanao.
Comelec-Davao assistant regional director Marlon Casquejo said the decision to postpone the election is already final since Mindanao is under martial law, following the attack of a terrorist-inspired Maute group in Marawi City last May.
The barangay and SK elections, which were originally scheduled next month, will be moved to January to February next year. But this will only happen 30 days after if President Rodrigo Duterte will lift the martial law in December, he said.
In a three-page resolution, the Comelec postponed the elections in Mindanao as it could not guarantee "free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections" there as mandated by the 1987 Constitution under the current situation.
"We will have our elections by January kung ma-lift ang martial law (if martial law will be lifted), but if the president decides to extend the martial law in Mindanao, all incumbent barangay officials shall remain in their respective office," Casquejo said.
Casquejo said the poll body will have another resolution for the filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC) for aspiring barangay and SK officials here in Mindanao, while the filing of the COC in Luzon and Visayas is scheduled in October.
"But whether the national will postpone their elections or not, we will still prepare here in Davao region. We will start conducting trainings for our Board of Election Tellers, which we have the lists of their names already," he added.
Overall, Casquejo said, the Davao region is set for the barangay and SK elections. He added that they already have the complete lists of the regular and SK voters — around 919,000 regular voters and 300,000 SK voters—in the Davao Region.
"So far, wala tayong problema sa (we have no problem in) Davao. The preparation is smooth except for the printing of ballots, which has been cancelled already following the postponement of the elections," Casquejo said.
Casquejo said the Comelec will also have to assess whether it will have voters’ registrations this December. He added that there is no decision yet on the matter, because they are still waiting for the final schedule of the elections.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 21, 2017.
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