CEBU City North District Rep. Rachel Marguerite “Cutie” del Mar has sought the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) scheduled to take place on Dec. 5, 2022.

Del Mar filed House Bill (HB) 133, “An act amending certain sections of Republic Act 11462 otherwise known as an act postponing the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.”

The bill was submitted by del Mar during the first hour of the opening of the 19th Congress on June 30. Once approved, the BSKE will be moved to Dec. 4, 2023.

In her explanatory note, del Mar said conducting the BSKE this year “definitely adds to the present division of our electorates.”

The congresswoman also said there would be additional expenditures for the conduct of the BSKE on the part of the Commission on Elections (Comelec)

Del Mar told SunStar Cebu on Monday, July 2, that she had already conducted a consultation with the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials who are in favor of moving the date of the BSKE.

Another reason del Mar wanted to move the election is the effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“It is of common knowledge that our country has suffered a lot due to the pandemic brought about by the Covid-19 and the recently concluded elections,” said del Mar.

She further said that moving the date of the BSKE will allow the country to concentrate on other economic programs that would be beneficial to the people.

The last Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections were held in May 2018. In late 2019, then President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law moving the May 2020 elections to December 2022.

Moving the elections to December 2023 would mean having barangay and SK officials serve a term of five and a half years, which is longer than the three-year term of mayors, governors and other elected local officials.

The Comelec has already started the registration of voters for the BSKE as scheduled by law.

Lawyer Michael Sarno of the Comelec Cebu City North District said off-site registration will be conducted to accommodate those who intend to register.

Sarno has returned to the Cebu City North District office after having been transferred to the Lapu-Lapu City Comelec for the May 2022 national and local elections.

Sarno said the registration for the north and south districts will be held in the malls.

For Cebu City north district, the schedule is: July 4-6 at City Times Square in Talamban, July 7-9 at Robinsons Cybergate, July 11-16 at Ayala Center Cebu and July 18-23 at Robinsons Galleria.

For Cebu City south district, it’s July 4-16 at SM Seaside City Cebu and July 18-23 at Robinsons Galleria Cebu.

Sarno said despite suggestions to suspend the BSKE, the Comelec should continue to perform its mandate, one of which is to prepare for the polls.

On the first day of the registration for the BSKE on Monday, July 4, Sarno said the number of people who registered was “average” but that he expected more people to flock to the registration sites in the coming weeks.

Also on July 4, Omar Sharif Dilangalen Mamalinta, who was previously assigned in Cebu City and Oslob town in southern Cebu, assumed the post of head of the Comelec office in Carcar City.

Mamalinta said aside from processing new registrations, they will also process the transfer of registration, correction of entry and reactivation, among others. (TPT)