By Mario Casayuran
Two neophyte senators formally sought Wednesday the postponement of the May 2020 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections that carries a hefty cost of P3 billion.
The cost of the elections “is enormous to escape scrutiny and consideration in the light of our budgetary constraints,” Senator Imee R. Marcos said.
Rescheduling the elections to the second Monday of May 2023 would not only save money to fund other aspects of national development ‘’but more importantly, (will) enforce the right of the incumbent barangay and SK officials to serve a full three year-term or, in this case, an extended five-year term,’’ Marcos said in the explanatory note of her Senate Bill 222.
Marcos pointed out that the barangay and SK elections are important pillars of Philippine democratic institutions.
‘’The success of the elections ensures national and local governments of effective partners, through the elected barangay and SK officials in the delivery of basic services to the people,’’ she added.
Expressing his empathy for barangay and SK officials who wish to execute their programs fully in their respective constituencies, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said he filed his bill seeking to extend the terms of office of the local officials to give them “ample time and continuity to pursue and implement the programs they have set in their respective jurisdictions.”
Go has filed a bill, once enacted into law, would give barangay officials ample time to finish their respective programs and projects.
He aid barangays serve as the country’s frontlines in the delivery of basic services in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality.
In an interview after filling the bill, Go said that as the assistant of the President Duterte for several years, he was familiar with the kind of work that barangay officials render to their communities and they must be given enough time to implement them.
The term of incumbent barangay officials was reduced to two years after the Republic Act 10952, approved on October 2, 2017, deferred the 2017 barangay and SK elections and moved it to the second Monday of May 2018.
The law further stipulated for the next polls to be held on May 2020, reducing the terms of candidates who won the May 2018 elections only two terms, instead of the three years mandated by the previous law.
If passed into law, the bill will move the next barangay and SK elections to the second Monday of October 2022 and every three years thereafter.