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MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has canceled work in the Philippines on October 30, the day of the long-delayed Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
“I, Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., president of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the law, do hereby declare Monday, October 30, 2023, as a special (non-working) day throughout the country,” Proclamation No. 359 read, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Monday, October 9, and released to the media on Wednesday, October 11.
“It is imperative that the people be given the full opportunity to participate in the said elections and exercise their right of suffrage,” the document states.
There is no law that makes an election day in the Philippines an automatic holiday, so presidents always have to issue proclamations.
The next round of barangay elections was supposed to be conducted in May 2020 but was postponed to December 2022, and then moved again to October 2023.
The deferment has been frowned upon by election watchdogs which said it deprived the electorate of their right to regularly choose their local officials.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that the law signed by Marcos rescheduling the December 2022 polls to October 2023 was unconstitutional, but added that the elections must push through this year “due to legal practicality and necessity.”
Around 67.8 million people are eligible to cast their ballots for the barangay elections, while 23.2 million people are registered to participate in the Sangguniang Kabataan polls.
A total of 1.41 million filed their candidacies for the upcoming polls, in hopes to fill the 672,432 seats up for grabs. – Rappler.com