DILG, local officials support postponing barangay, SK elections to 2023

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), along with barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials, support the proposal to push back the May 2020 elections following President Rodrigo Duterte's call for Congress to postpone the polls.

During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, September 10, government officials were in agreement that doing so would give barangay and SK officials more time to complete their tasks, including those delegated to them from central government agencies.

Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño said he supports postponing the May 2020 barangay and SK polls to May 2023. Proposed new dates for elections include October 2022 and May 2023. (READ: Imee Marcos wants gov't to postpone barangay, SK elections to 2023)

"Suportado po kami doon sa proposal to postpone [to May 2023 dahil] napakaraming trabahong bumagsak sa barangay," Diño said. (We support the proposal to postpone the polls to May 2023 because a lot of work has been given to barangays.)

Among the tasks barangay officials have to carry out, Diño said, are road clearing operations, implementation of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils, health campaigns to combat the national dengue epidemic, and supporting the government's anti-insurgency campaign.

SK OFFICIAL. Quezon City SK Federation president Noe Lorenzo dela Fuente at the Senate hearing on the postponement of barangay and SK elections on September 10, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

SK OFFICIAL. Quezon City SK Federation president Noe Lorenzo dela Fuente at the Senate hearing on the postponement of barangay and SK elections on September 10, 2019.

Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Meanwhile, Quezon City SK Federation president Noe Lorenzo dela Fuente echoed this, saying proposals to postpone the barangay and SK elections are a "welcome development."

Dela Fuente said having only been in office since 2018, SK officials will have more time to complete projects and address problems with the implementation of Republic Act No. 10742 or the law establishing reforms in the SK.

"It is proper for us to iron this out first before welcoming the next batch of SK officials," Dela Fuente said.

Aside from this, he also pointed out that SK officials were required to create a 3-year plan, which they will not be able to complete should elections proceed in 2020.

POLL COMMISSIONER. Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr of the Commission on Elections at the Senate hearing on the postponement of barangay and SK elections on September 10, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

POLL COMMISSIONER. Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr of the Commission on Elections at the Senate hearing on the postponement of barangay and SK elections on September 10, 2019.

Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

On the part of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr said they prefer that barangay and SK polls are not held the same year as national elections. The next national elections are set for 2022.

This is owing to the logistics of running both polls in the same year. Unlike national elections which are automated, barangay and SK elections are done manually.

The Comelec earlier said it "slowed down" its preparations for the May 2020 barangay and SK elections following the President's call for Congress to postpone the polls to 2022.

At the House of Representatives, at least 4 lawmakers have filed separate measures seeking to postpone the elections to as early as May 2022 and as late as May 2023.

Prior to this, barangay and SK elections were already postponed twice under the Duterte administration. The polls were first postponed from October 2016 to October 2017, then pushed back once more to May 2018 after Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10952(READ: TIMELINE: Efforts to postpone barangay, SK elections) – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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