MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) decided on Wednesday, January 31, to suspend the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in strife-torn Marawi City.
The barangay and SK elections (BSKE2018) in the rest of Mindanao “will push through as scheduled,” Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said.
“The commission en banc today resolved to suspend the conduct of the BSKE2018 only in Marawi City. The BSKE2018 in the rest of Mindanao will push through as scheduled, with the exception of Marawi City, owing to the prevailing conditions in that city,” Jimenez said.
Marawi is the site of a 5-month siege between government forces and terrorists, killing 168 government troops, mostly soldiers.
Jimenez said that after 3 months, the Comelec “will reassess the suspension” of the barangay and SK polls in Marawi City. This will determine whether the Comelec can proceed with the elections.
The barangay and SK elections throughout the country had already been postponed to May 14 this year, from the original schedule of October 23, 2017.
The poll body, however, considered another postponement for Mindanao after Congress extended martial law in the island group to the end of 2018.
The Comelec explained that based on the Omnibus Election Code, it may “postpone elections in a particular location, after due notice and hearing therein, when the holding of free, orderly and honest elections should become impossible due to any serious cause such as violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure, and other analogous causes of such nature.” – Rappler.com