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Robredo wants to extend barangay officials' terms to 5 years

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo thinks the terms in office of barangay officials should be extended from the current 3 years to 5 years.

In a chance interview in Naga City on Monday, June 18, Robredo said her proposed term extension would "distance them from too much politics." 

The Vice President, who was Camarines Sur 3rd District's representative in the previous 16th Congress, had proposed a bill seeking to extend barangay officials' terms of office to 5 years. But this did not prosper. 

"Iyong sa akin kasi, iyong 3 taon napakaiksi talaga, napakaiksi for barangay officials. Noong miyembro pa tayo ng 16th Congress, isa na ito sa panukala natin – na mas habaan iyong term of office ng mga barangay officials. Kasi isa din itong paraan para ilayo sila sa masyadong pulitika," said Robredo, who led the oath-taking of Naga City's newly elected barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials on Monday.

(For me, 3 years is too short for barangay officials. When I was still a member of the 16th Congress, this was one of my bills – to extend the terms of office of barangay officials. This is to distance them from too much politics.) 

She explained that having barangay elections which are "too politicized" is not good for the community.  

"Iyong ating paniniwala, hindi makakabuti sa taumbayan na masyadong politicized iyong barangay elections, iyong pag-elect ng barangay officials, gaya ng nangyayari ngayon. At habang ganito kadalas iyong eleksyon – dahil 3 years iyong term of office nila – hindi talaga malalayo sa ganoon na danger," said the Vice President.

(My belief is that having too politicized barangay elections, like what happened this year, is not good for the people. And because elections are held frequently – because their terms last only 3 years – they are exposed to this kind of danger.)

The terms of office of barangay and SK officials have varied over the years. The Local Government Code initially set their terms to 3 years, then this was changed to 5 years, then back to 3 years again.

Currently, bills seeking to give 5-year terms to barangay and SK officials have been filed by incumbent district representatives and senators, but these remain pending in Congress.

Filipinos were able to vote for a new set of barangay and SK officials for the first time in 5 and 8 years, respectively, in May. Several laws had previously been passed to postpone the polls.

The newly elected barangay and SK officials, however, will be serving for only two years, instead of the 3 years mandated by law. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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