By Mario B. Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines --- Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate local governments committee, pushed yesterday for the extension of the terms of barangay officials and Sangguniang Kabaatan (SK) from three to five years.
Marcos issued the statement after conducting a hearing on his Senate Bill 3296 which sought the term extensions to allow these officials a longer period to pursue their program of development “uninterrupted by concerns of re-election.’’
The Constitution allows Congress to determine the term of office for barangay officials ‘’in recognition of the innate nature of a barangay as the basic political unit and whose officials are considered apolitical in character,’’ Marcos said.
The last time barangay and SK elections were held was in 2010
The extension of the terms of barangay and SK officials was originally sought by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Liga ng mga Barangay.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the poll body would have a hard time preparing for these twin elections if they are held in 2015 because they would be busy preparing for the 2016 presidential election.
Marcos quoted Comelec as saying that synchronizing the barangay and SK elections with the scheduled 2016 national elections is not practical and “not a question of principle.”
Comelec officials pointed out that synchronizing these elections would be a question of logistics because they would be hard pressed funding and printing 42,000 plus different ballots.
‘’That’s why we have to decide. If 2014, it has to be appropriated next year. But we will report out (the committee report) and see where the floor debate will take us,’’ he said.