A FIRST-TIME legislator from Cebu City has filed a bill resetting the barangay and youth elections from this October to next year, citing the public’s “political hangover” from the May 10, 2010 polls.
Rep. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar filed House Bill 1687, which seeks to amend Republic Act 9340, resetting the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from the last Monday of October 2010 to the last Monday of October 2011.
The synchronized national and local elections last May involved the longest official campaign period in recent history because of the adjustments brought about by automation. It was the first time the country used a revised ballot, vote-counting machines and the electronic transmission of results.
“We have yet to fully recover from this (May 10) democratic exercise where the electorate, particularly the youth, awed by the concept and reality of automation and moved by an admirable zeal to have their votes counted, clearly participated to the fullest,” the congresswoman said in the explanatory note of her bill.
Del Mar also said there is a need for the newly installed leaders to deliver the promise of putting in place a changed government.
“This is therefore the time to make things happen, to have those changes that can be made to happen. This is where our complete and total focus should be, undiminished by any political exercise that can be better moved to a better time without losing any sense of legitimacy or committing any act of public disservice,” said del Mar.
Conducting the barangay elections this year, del Mar said, would redirect resources that government could otherwise use to deliver basic services like health, shelter and education.
If the elections are postponed, however, she added, the government would save more than P2 billion.
Atty. Marchel Sarno, Cebu City north district election officer, said any legislator can file a bill seeking the postponement of the barangay elections. Still, the Commission on Elections is proceeding with its preparations for the October polls.
The last barangay and youth elections were held in October 2007, also five months after a local and congressional election.