Arguments for the Postponement of the October 25, 2010 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections

The Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Senator Ferdinand
R. Marcos, Jr. respectfully recommends that the October 25, 2010 barangay and
Sangguniang Kabataan elections be postponed to October 2011, based on the
following reasons:

1. COST – holding the barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections this
coming October would mean another gargantuan expenditure by the
government, over and above the expenses recently incurred last May
national and local elections. The country has already spent around
P11 to P12 Billion last May, 2010, for the automated national and local
elections. By estimation given by Chairman Jose Melo of the Commission
on Elections, the government will disburse approximately not less than
P3.4 Billion in conducting manual barangay and SK elections this October.
This figure is in addition to the P200 million for the recently concluded
registration of voters for the forthcoming October elections. The total
expenditure for the October 2010 elections is almost unconscionable,
especially in the light of the proclamation of the President that the country
is currently suffering from a serious budgetary deficit.

2. DIVISIVENESS – The country has not recovered from the damaging and
divisive effects of the highly politicized May 2010 elections. The diverse
political strategies and schemes employed by candidates-politicians have
adversely affected and influenced the barangay and SK officials, who,
according to law should be non-partisan in the first place. To hold the
barangay and SK elections this coming October will only aggravate the
discordant political atmosphere in the country.

3. REVIEW OF THE SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN – There is an imperative
need for Congress to review and assess the present structure and role of
the Sangguniang Kabataan created under the Local Government Code
of 1991. At present, there is a strong clamor from the different sectors
of society proposing either to abolish the Sangguniang Kabataan, or to

restructure the same. In either way, there is an urgent necessity to have
an in-depth evaluation of the performance of the Sangguniang Kabataan,
and to institute vital reforms therein, and to make youth participation and
leadership more responsive, accountable and transparent. This important
matter should be thoroughly studied and deliberated on order to weigh
the pros and cons of issues raised, and to come up with the best possible
solution.

4. ISSUE ON AUTOMATION – RA 9369 mandates that an automated
election system be applied in the national and local elections. This
mandate likewise applies to the barangay and sangguniang kabataan
elections. However, scrutiny of Section 6 of RA 8436, as amended by
RA 9369, reveals that the Comelec “is authorized to use an automated
election system or systems in the same election in different province,
whether paper-based or a direct recording electronic election system as it
may deem appropriate and practical” for the process of voting, counting of
votes and canvassing/consolidation and transmittal of results of electoral
exercises.” (underscoring supplied). According to Chairman Melo of
the Comelec, the Commission is not prepared to conduct simultaneous
automated barangay and SK elections on October 25, 2010, but is instead
preparing for the holding of these elections through manual voting. This
option is far more practical, as the Comelec will only print out ballots, as
it was done in the past. Furthermore, there will actually be no automated
transmittal of barangay / SK results, thereby, simplifying and shortening
the whole electoral process. In addition to this, the logistical requirement
in preparing for automated elections for each of the approximately 42,000
barangays all over the country is expectedly going to be enormous. With
the present economic state of the country, it is best to scrimp and save
government expenses, and allot a substantial amount for other worthwhile
programs and projects for the benefit of our countrymen.

5. VALIDATE VOTERS’ LIST – there is crucial need to purge the Comelec’s
general registration list of voters, and to weed out the names of flying
voters and those who have been disqualified, or have already died. A
longer period of time is needed to accomplish this task, and cannot be
successfully completed if the elections this October will push through.

In view of the above, the Senate Committee on Local Government respectfully
recommends to His Excellency, President Benigno C. Aquino that the Barangay and

Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled this October 25, 2010, be postponed and
re-scheduled for October 2011. By maximizing the time between elections, we give all
agencies the best chance to fully prepare.

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