THREE Cebuano congressmen have expressed their opinions on Senate Bill 1037 filed by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano last Aug. 17 resetting the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from Oct. 31, 2016 to the last Monday of October 2018.
Cebu City South Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa yesterday said he is against the proposal of Cayetano to postpone the barangay elections.
“I will vote against the postponement if taken up in the House. Contrary to Cayetano’s contention, the barangay elections will not disrupt the current anti-drugs campaign,” Abellanosa said.
“Instead, the elections will be a cleansing process for the people to remove their barangay officials who they perceive as involved in illegal drugs,” Abellanosa said.
Rep. Ramon Durano VI said that if postponing the barangay elections will help the government’s war against illegal drugs, “then I support the move.”
“The government will definitely save billions of pesos (nationwide) by postponing the barangay elections,” Durano said.
Cebu City North Rep. Raul V. Del Mar believes that the barangay and SK elections should be held as scheduled on Oct. 31, 2016 because of the following reasons: First, the citizens elected barangay officials for a term of only three years, and it should not be extended without a fresh mandate from the citizens.
Second, the youth have been denied representation in the barangays, municipalities, cities and provinces for the last three years when their elections in 2013 were postponed until reforms are made.
“The same was done when a new SK Reforms Law was enacted, which scheduled the SK elections to be held with the barangay elections this October 31st. To extend this election will further deprive the youth representation in government,” Del Mar said.
Third, it might be too late to postpone the barangay and SK elections with only 43 days to go. The Comelec earlier said that any postponement should be done not later than the first week of August as procurement of election paraphernalia will start following by the printing of ballots.
“The filing of certificates of candidacies is scheduled on Oct. 3-5, which is 43 days from now,” Del Mar said.
Cayetano presented five reasons in suggesting the postponement of the upcoming synchronized barangay and SK elections.
First, it will enable government agencies and political subdivisions to focus their full support for and efforts towards winning the war against illegal drugs and criminality in the country.
Second, it will afford the legislative ample time to amend, strengthen and improve the Local Government Code of 1991’s provisions on effective barangay governance.
Third, it will save the country billions of pesos that can instead be devoted to the delivery of social services, especially if a plebiscite for federalism will be held in 2018 or 2019.
Fourth, it will give the Commission on Elections (Comelec) enough time to prepare for the elections and the Filipino electorate ample time to discern how to intelligently cast their votes.
Five, it will enable incumbent barangay officials to effectively continue their projects and programs and to amend or re-align their initiatives in accordance with the thrusts of the Duterte administration.