By Anjo Bagaoisan | ABS-CBN News
MALASIQUI, PANGASINAN—Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Sunday he plans to revisit the term periods of officials in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), the smallest political units in the Philippines, should he become the next president.
Speaking to over a hundred barangay officials and workers from Pangasinan’s third district at the Arenas Farm in Malasiqui town, Marcos vowed to give village officers a bigger voice in the national government and strengthen partnerships between the two levels.
He said this was crucial since the barangays know more about the situation in their neighborhoods than the national government.
Marcos Jr. drew cheers from those in the audience after saying the barangay and SK terms could be fixed at 5 years instead of the current 3 years.
This, he said, was due to the repeated suspension and rescheduling of the barangay and SK polls.
The barangay elections have been postponed thrice since 2016, with the last law moving the polls to December 2022.
“Siguro pag-aralan pati natin kung gaano kadalas dapat ang maging eleksyon ng barangay official, dahil lagi naman napo-postpone e. Siguro, ang proposal namin noon, noong nasa Senado ako—ako ang chairman ng local government—ang sinasabi namin palitan na natin gawing 5 years na,” he said at the debate.
Marcos’s 2012 bill only hurdled the committee level.
A similar pending measure was filed in 2019 by his sister, Sen. Imee Marcos.
Marcos Jr. added the current term limits already hamper how barangay officials perform their duties.
“Maging praktikal na tayo at ilagay natin, sabihin natin kung anuman talaga ang magiging tama na pangyayari,” he said.
“Kasi mahirap naman mayroon tayong eleksyon every year [sic], so wala na tayong gagawin kundi mangampanya, saka ‘yong napakabigat, hindi lamang sa mga kandidato, hindi lamang sa mga lider, kundi sa taumbayan din. At mahirap gawin ang trabaho kung hindi ka nakatitiyak. Marami kang panahon para tapusin ang mga initiative na dinadala niyo sa community ninyo.”
A former Ilocos Norte governor, Marcos Jr.’s added he would also push for the benefits of barangay officials and workers to be released.
The stop at Malasiqui was part of his weekend-long campaign in Pangasinan province that followed a morning motorcade.