16 Batangas barangays without candidates for SK kagawad

Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of the story, we reported that 16 barangays in Batangas do not have candidates for Sangguniang Kabataan chairman, while 5 other barangays have no barangay chairman candidates. We apologize for this error. We have updated this story to reflect the correct information.

BATANGAS, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in the province of Batangas expressed alarm over the absence of candidates for the position of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) kagawad in 16 barangays.

On top of this, there are also 5 barangays without candidates for the position of SK chairman: Barangay San Pablo in the town of Bauan, Barangay San Juan in Mabini, Barangay Pook Kapitan in San Pascual, Barangay San Juan in Tingloy, and Barangay 16 in Batangas City.

According to Batangas election supervisor Gloria Petallo, they find this very unusual.

"Yes, this is the first time. I think there were some who still believed that elections will not push through," Petallo said.

She said it is not within the mandate of Comelec to decide what will happen to the local leadership of barangays lacking candidates. She said she has asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) about this.

"I also asked DILG but it is still not clear how they will deal with this situation under the new SK law. But for sure, the term of the incumbents will not be extended," Petallo added.

Last week, the Comelec extended for one day the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) after concerns were raised over a "low turnout" of bets for the village and youth council polls.

Comelec data as of April 24 showed that 1,177,343 COCs were filed, of which 743,693 were for barangay positions and 433,650 were for SK positions. A total of 783,402 aspiring bets were male, while 393,941 were female. (READ: More than a million candidates run in 2018 barangay, SK elections)

Comelec Batangas also noticed a significant increase in the number of barangays where only one candidate registered for certain positions.

Out of 1,078 barangays in the province, 241 only have one candidate for the position of barangay chairman, representing 22.36% of the total number of barangays. An even higher 36.73% representing 396 barangays only have one candidate for the position of SK chairman.

Petallo confirmed that because there is no minimum requirement for the number of votes, the lone candidate will be declared a winner even with just one vote in the absence of other registered candidates. – Rappler.com