Comelec urges professionals to run for barangay posts

CITING their potential to serve as new breed of government leaders, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) urges professionals to try their luck in the forthcoming October 28 barangay polls.

In an interview, Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca said such individuals would give "traditional" barangay candidates a run for their money especially if the voters would know that a professional could be their next barangay chairman.

"What we want is for more professionals to join (the elections)… It's one way of ensuring that there will be a new breed that will enter (government service)," said Padaca.

"It might give a different ego booster (for the constituents) if they have as their barangay captain a doctor or lawyer, and the likes," she added.

The commissioner said having them as candidates would also allow voters to have better alternatives over those usually running for barangay chairman or kagawads.

"In a barangay setting, everyone knows each another. You know if the one running is a drunkard, a gambler, or a loafer. Of course you cannot afford to vote for him or her so you might as well run," said Padaca.

"To college graduates, even if unemployed, while you are doing nothing, why not try if being a kagawads fits you… We want to open the minds of our people to join the government. It may not have high salaries but the sense of service is there," she further said.

Based on the data provided by the Comelec, out of the current 336,200 barangay officials nationwide, 104,186 (31 percent) have high school as their highest educational attainment.

A total of 95,709 (28 percent) experienced college education; 18,073 (5 percent) underwent vocational school; while another 44,309 (13 percent) had elementary education.

A mere 6,388 (2 percent) were able to finish their college studies among the barangay officials in 42,025 barangays in the country.

The former Isabela governor said another motivation for the new breed to run in the barangay elections is that it would provide them a good opportunity to penetrate politics.

"Since it is difficult to make it as congressman, mayor, governor immediately since many politicians are already entrenched, why not try being a barangay chairman. It may not entail massive expenses since you can do house-to-house campaigning. You can win with hard work and not with money," said Padaca.

According to Comelec Resolution 9715, the period for the filing of Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls will be from October 15 to 17.

Qualifications to run for barangay posts include being a Filipino citizen; at least 18 years old on Election Day; able to read and write Filipino or any local language or dialect; is a registered voters of the barangay, where they intend to run for office; and is a resident in the said barangay for at least one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

To be voted during Election Day are the Barangay chairman and seven Sangguniang Barangay Kagawads. (HDT/Sunnex)
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