By Maila Ager | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines–The Senate committee on local government finally approved on Friday a bill postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to October 2016.
The SK polls were originally scheduled for February 21, 2015.
After holding a hearing on Friday, committee chair Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. announced that the bill was already approved by the panel and will now be ready for plenary actions next week.
In a press conference, Marcos clarified that the postponement of the SK polls will only become definite once the Senate approves the bill on third and final reading.
“Again, it’s only approved in the committee level. We still have to go through the process of sponsoring it and (have) it passed on third reading. Hanggang doon hindi pa natin masasabi na talagang tapos na ang proseso and the postponement is definite, so we will have to wait until we go through the entire legislative process,” he said.
The House of Representatives has already passed its own version of the bill.
During the hearing, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said postponing the SK polls this year would solve their problems in preparing for the 2016 presidential elections.
“We believe that our work is being hampered by an election between our preparation for the May 2016 elections…and an election in between,” Brillantes told the committee.
“There are effects of an election in between because we will have to suspend registration. Second, we will be spending so much for the SK elections,” he said.
Brillantes pointed out that the Comelec was given a budget of only P900 million whereas the projected cost of the SK polls was P1.1 billion.
“And we think that if we will hold these elections now under the old system without the reform bill, it would be, I beg the indulgence of the chairman, it would be a useless expense for us to spend P1.1 billion still under the old SK law without any reform bill,” Brillantes said.
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