BSKE Elections 2023

BSKE Elections 2023

The campaigning in the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE) has scaled up. I would say that it is comparable, and in some instances, more lavish, than campaigns at the city level. Gone are the trompa (horn loudspeakers) for showboats, enter the ear-splitting huge speakers with high wattage amplifiers powered by generators.

Posting tarpaulins is no less extravagant. It’s a good thing COMELEC prohibited the use of campaign t-shirts and other giveaways. If not, they might also outdo city and provincial candidates. They even have grand motorcades even if their village has only less than five barangay roads.

Lavish campaigning in small barangays is overkill. In my opinion, campaigning in Barangay elections is man-to-man. More personal. In the community, everybody knows everyone, except for big barangays like Dau in Mabalacat City. The more relatives, the better. A good image and family background is surely an advantage.

I heard some candidates spent millions of pesos. There’s no way to recoup that. Barangay officials do not receive salaries, only honorariums. The biggest monthly per diem they can get is only P33,000 a month for the Barangay Captain, and P23,000 for kagawads (Councilmen). Even if a Barangay has a huge budget like Dau in Mabalacat City, they cannot be given higher pay.

The limit for honorariums is set in RA 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991. The code provides that barangay officials shall be compensated in the form of honorarium at an amount not less than P1,000 per month for the Punong Barangay and P600 each per month for the Sangguniang Barangay members, Barangay Treasurer and Barangay Secretary. Honoraria rates can be adjusted based on the Barangay’s budget but shall not exceed the minimum for positions with salary grade 14 (P 33,000) and 10 (P23,000), respectively.

The winners in this BSKE will only have a 2-year term of office. The Supreme Court declared RA 11935, the law that postponed the BSKE elections, as unconstitutional but “recognized it as an operative fact which had consequences and effects that cannot be reversed nor ignored.” As such, the next BSKE shall be held on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years thereafter, pursuant to RA 11462.

Congratulations to COMELEC for the generally peaceful elections. Hats off too for strictly prohibiting premature campaigning. Right after filing, I noticed that all posters and tarpaulins were removed. No “caucus” were done openly. The Omnibus election code says that holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate is allowed only during the campaign period. Will this be implemented in the national and local elections in 2025? The filing of candidacy will be in October next year. Abangan!

Congratulations to all the BSKE winners, especially in my beloved Mabalacat City.

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