By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House of Representatives is deadset on approving within this month on third and final reading a bill seeking to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in October this year.
Citizens Battle against Corruption (CIBAC) partylist Rep. Sherwin Tugna, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said they are targeting to pass the five pending bills and one resolution calling for the postponement of the barangay and SK polls before the month ends.
“Sa mababang kapulungan po hindi na aabot ito ng mga Christmas jingles,” he said in a radio interview.
“I think before August ends, this will be approved on third reading,” he said.
He said all stakeholders will be consulted on the postponement of the polls.
This afternoon (Aug. 14) , the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms will deliberate on the five bills and one resolution calling for the cancellation of the barangay and SK polls.
Tugna said the measure will likely be put to vote and be passed after hearing the concerns of various stakeholders, including the association of the barangay captains and the National Youth Commission.
Among the authors of the bill are Reps. Robert Ace S. Barbers (Surigao del Norte), Lord Allan Q. Velasco (Marinduque), and Jose T. Panganiban Jr. (Party-list,ANAC-IP).
During an all-party caucus last August 7, lawmakers decided to move the October 2017 barangay and SK elections to May 2018.
Tugna said the main reason in favor of the postponement was to synchronize and to support the administration’s war on drugs.
President Duterte had sought the postponement of elections so the elections and barangay politics would not interfere with the ongoing fight to eradicate illegal drugs at the barangay level.
“Postponing the elections would prevent the election of local personalities linked to drug operations. More importantly, it would also give ample time for incumbent barangay officials to address and curb the drug-problem of our country,” Tugna said.
“By moving the local elections to May 2018, we are able to balance the our nation’s fight against illegal drugs and the people’s right to exercise their right to participate in the selection of their local leaders,” he added.