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The Latest On Barangay & SK Elections

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aquino wants barangay, SK polls in October, but....

President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III wants the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to push through in October despite several proposals to abolish or postpone it, Malacañang said Wednesday.

"The preference of the President is for the barangay elections to go through in October. The reason behind this is we'd like to synchronize the elections in 2013," presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told Palace reporters.

However, Aquino wants the SK — which is composed of one chairman and seven councilors — to be restructured to have just one representative, Lacierda said, adding that Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo has drafted a bill calling for such setup.

Likewise, Robredo's bill pushes for barangay and SK officials' three-year terms to be cut short by five months so the elections of these officials will be synchronized with the mid-term national and local elections in May 2013.

The bill will be filed by Aquino's allies in Congress and will be prioritized to ensure that it will be passed before the barangay and SK elections on October 25, Lacierda said.

"The whole idea here is to save costs," said Lacierda, adding that the government can save at least P800 million if the 2013 barangay elections were held simultaneously with the election of senators and local officials in May 2013.

Unnecessary expenses?

Malacañang issued the statement after Vice President Jejomar Binay said barangay and SK elections should be abolished because they add unnecessary expenses for the government.

Proposals to postpone the polls are currently pending in Congress. At the Senate, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 60 which seeks to move the October 2010 elections to October 2012.

In the House of Representatives, House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman filed a bill that would move the said elections to 2012, saying the postponement will save a lot of money that can be spent on priority government projects.

But the Commission on Elections is urging Congress not to pass proposals to abolish the said elections, taking into consideration the high turnout during the first day of registration for the barangay and SK.

"We urge members of Congress to visit Comelec registration centers in their respective districts so that they can have a feel of what their constituents really want regarding the upcoming polls," said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.

The registration period for the barangay polls began on August 4 and will end on August 13. The list-up for the SK elections, meanwhile, began on August 6 and will last until August 15. — RSJ/KBK, GMANews.TV