House committee postpones barangay, SK polls Print
Thursday, 17 August 2017 15:57

By Dexter Yap

With the strong vote of 19-2, the House committee on suffrage and electoral process approved a substitute bill which seeks to postpone the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to 2018 from October 23, 2017 to May 2018 as provided under the substitute bill.

The unnumbered bill substituted House Bills 5359, 5361, 5380 5510, 5653 and House Resolution 905 authored by Reps. Celso Lobregat (1st District,Zamboanga City), Robert Ace Barbers (2nd District, Surigao del Norte), Velasco, Jose Panganiban, Jr. (Party-list, ANAC-IP ) Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan), Johnny Pimentel (2nd District, Surigao del Sur) and Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), respectively.

The bill likewise provides that current barangay officials shall act in a holdover capacity until the next elections is held.

Congressman Celso Lobregat said the holding of the elections would derail the effective campaign of President Duterte in curtailing drug addiction that is prevalent in the country.

Second, the peace and order problem in Mindanao could hamper the holding of free and fair elections this year, said Lobregat. “The intelligence community has confirmed reports that the peace and order problem in Mindanao might escalate,” Lobregat said.

Third is that the country is not awash with cash right now. “As you know there is a strong desire from Malacañang that we pursue infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build Program,” he said.

Lobregat said the money and savings of the Comelec, which is around P6 billion, could be used instead to augment the funds for free education, build infrastructure and strengthen the defense capabilities of the police and army fighting in Mindanao.

However, Lobregat said there is a provision in the Local Government Code on how to remove erring barangay officials and he hopes “we apply the law to all of them with the one-year postponement.” – Dexter Yap