MANILA, Philippines – After two postponements, the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will push through on Monday, May 14, this year.
“Mga kababayan, tuloy na tuloy po ang barangay at SK election ngayong ika-14 ng Mayo,” said Martin Diño, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) undersecretary for barangay affairs. (To all Filipinos: the barangay and SK elections will definitely happen on May 14.)
In a press conference on Tuesday, February 6, the DILG and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) emphasized the need to elect village officials who are matino, mahusay, at maasahan (decent, excellent, and reliable).
These traits serve as a guide to choose the right leaders, said Diño.
Barangays are in the front lines not only in providing basic services, but also in fighting illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality, he added.
Diño then reminded voters not to engage in vote buying.
“Tandaan ‘nyo: iyong isang araw na sarap, tatlong taong paghihirap pagka nakakuha tayo ng isang bugok na barangay captain at kagawad,” Diño said. (Remember, after one day of joy on election day, there could be 3 years of hardship if we elect rotten barangay captains and council members.)
Meanwhile, DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said the SK or youth council is a venue for developing the country’s future leaders.
“Ang SK ay pagkakataon para sa kabataang Pilipino na maging kasama sa pagbabago ng ating lipunan patungo sa pagiging maunlad at mapayapang bansa,” he said. (The SK is a chance for the Filipino youth to participate in changing our society toward a more progressive and peaceful nation.)
For his part, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that despite 3 vacancies in the 7-member poll body, majority of the preparations for the village polls have already been done.
“Only the implementation part is left…. We do not think the elections will be delayed because of that, just to get that clear,” Jimenez said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The barangay and SK elections had been originally scheduled for October 31, 2016, but were postponed twice, first to October 23, 2017, then when it was finally set for May 14, 2018.
Election calendar, bans
Jimenez presented the election calendar and mentioned the list of election-related bans in the lead-up to the polls and on election day.
The election period will run from April 14 to May 21, 2018. During this time, the gun ban will be in effect.
The filing of certificates of candidacy will be from April 14 to 20, while the campaign period will be from May 4 to 12.
During the election period, the following are prohibited, along with the gun ban:
- Using security personnel or bodyguards by candidates
- Organizing or maintaining reaction forces, strike forces, or similar forces
- Altering a territory of a precinct, or establishment of a new precinct
- Transferring or detailing officers and employees in the civil service, including public school teachers
- Suspending any elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay officer
- Coercing or threatening any election official or employee in the performance of his or her election duties (This applies until the proclamation of winning candidates, said the Comelec.)
The following are additional bans during the campaign period:
- Removing, destroying, or preventing distribution of lawful election propaganda
- Making any donation or gift in cash or in kind
- Using armored land, water, or air craft
- Appointing or using special policemen, special/confidential agents or the like
- Having policemen or provincial guards act as bodyguards or security guards for public officials or candidates
The last 4 items are also banned on the eve of the election and on election day.
From April 14 until election day, vote-buying and vote-selling are strictly not allowed, as well as fund-raising through activities like dances, lotteries, and cockfights.
Meanwhile, from April 14 until the proclamation of winning candidates, it is prohibited to wager or bet on the results of the elections.
From May 4 to 13, there are bans on the construction or maintenance of barangay-funded roads, and the appointment, hiring or promotion of government employees.
The liquor ban will be implemented from May 13 to 14.
On election day, May 14, polling precincts will be open from 7 am to 3 pm. This will be a manual election.
On election day itself, these acts are also prohibited:
- Voting more than once or in substitution of another
- Using the voter’s affidavit of another for the purpose of voting (whether the act succeeds or not)
- Destroying, substituting or taking away – from those having legal custody or from the place it is legally deposited – any election form, document, or ballot box
- Soliciting votes or undertaking any propaganda for or against any candidate within the polling place or within 30 meters
- Opening of booths or stalls for the sale of wares, merchandise or refreshments within 30 meters from the polling place
- Holding of fairs, cockfights, boxing, horse races, or similar sports
Finally, the unsanctioned release of prisoners is not allowed from March 15 to June 13.
After the polls, winning and losing candidates must file their Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) by June 13. – Rappler.com
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