Intense debates loom in the Senate over a proposal by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. to postpone the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled for October 28 this year.
Marcos pressed for the approval of Senate Bill No. 663 that he filed recently, which seeks to change the term of office of barangay and SK officials from three years to five years.
Instead of holding the elections this year, Marcos proposed the holding of synchronized barangay and SK polls on October 2015, and every five years thereafter.
Earlier, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes backed moves for either the postponement of the barangay and SK elections or the abolition of SK. However, he said it’s up to Congress to decide on the issue.
Malacanang has balked on the idea of postponing the October barangay and SK polls.
Undeterred by the Palace’s stand, Marcos urged the Senate to swiftly act on SB No. 663.
“While the right of suffrage is unquestionably paramount and constitutionally protected, the benefit of holding barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections every three years rather than at a longer period is a pressing legitimate issue,” Marcos stressed.
Marcos said the history of our barangay elections, with its current term of office of barangay officials of three years, will show that it had gone through several postponements due to lack of funds.
“The budgetary requirement of three billion pesos to finance the conduct of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections every three years as mandated by existing law is so enormous to escape public scrutiny and consideration in the light of our budgetary constraints,” Marcos said.
This, according to Marcos, is also one of the main reasons why the barangay and SK elections were synchronized in the first place.
Marcos said his proposal is not merely meant to save money to fund other aspects of national development.
“But more importantly, it would give barangay and SK officials a longer period to pursue their program of development uninterrupted by concerns for re-election,” he said.