LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan supports the call to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) scheduled on Dec. 5, 2022.

In a news forum Tuesday, July 5, Chan said having two elections in one year would be too expensive for the government, especially since the country is still suffering from effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We cannot afford to do (two) elections in one year,” said Chan.

Ferdinand Gujilde, Commission on Elections (Comelec) supervisor in Central Visayas, said only an act of Congress can suspend the BSKE.

Gujilde said the Comelec is only doing its mandate since there is a law that specifies the schedule of the BSKE.

The BSKE can be rescheduled by Congress, unlike the national and local elections which have fixed dates as stated in the Constitution.

As voter registration began on Monday, Gujilde said only a few registered but they expect people to flock on the last days of the registration.

Government has allocated P8.6 billion for the conduct of the BSKE.

Meanwhile, Chan said it would be wise to suspend the election until next year to allow more time for preparations.

Chan also said it would be better to just let the chief executive of the town or city appoint village officials instead of holding barangay elections.

This way, there will be strong cooperation between the town or city officials and the barangay officials, especially in delivering basic services such as garbage collection, Chan said.

Earlier, Cebu City North District Rep. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar filed House Bill 133 seeking to postpone the BSKE until Dec. 4, 2023.

New registrants

In Mandaue City, 341 applicants showed up during the first day of the BSKE voter registration on Monday, July 4.

Sarah Reuyan, election officer assistant, said they were mostly SK voters aged 15 to 17 years old.

Reuyan said this was an increase of about a hundred individuals compared to the last BSKE registration in 2018, where Comelec Mandaue only recorded about 200 applicants on the first day of registration.

During the 18th Congress in 2021, Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Almarion filed House Bill 10425 which sought to reschedule the barangay and SK elections from Dec. 5, 2022, to May 6, 2024.

Despite moves to postpone the elections, registration for the BSKE will continue until July 23, 2022 in the different Comelec satellite offices nationwide.

In Talisay City, a total of 168 individuals registered on the first day of registration.

Charisse Faith Sojor, Talisay election officer, said she is expecting a turnout of 500 registrants every day until the registration period ends later this month.

The registration for the BSKE is held at the satellite Comelec office on the second floor of Starmall in Barangay Lawaan, Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sojor said they chose Starmall as their registration venue since it has enough space to accommodate more registrants than their office at the Talisay City Hall.

The Comelec satellite office in Starmall is located next to the vaccination site so that people can easily register after being vaccinated, said Sojor.

Sojor said they received a request from a barangay official asking for voters’ registration to be done in their area but Comelec turned it down due to lack of manpower.

Among the new registrants were Antonio Restauro, 81, and his wife Margarita, 77, of Barangay Pooc, Talisay City. They went to Comelec’s satellite office at Starmall to register as new voters after their names were delisted after failing to vote since they left for California, USA, 27 years ago.

The last BSKE was held on May 14, 2018. (HIC, BBT, TPT)