GMA News Online – Senate panel OKs postponement of SK polls

By Amita Legaspi | GMA News Online

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A Senate committee approved on Friday the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled next month.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, chairman of the committee on local government, said he is ready to report out to the Senate plenary the decision.

“We are done with the hearing, if we can finalize the report I will speak with the Senate President and see when we can schedule it for floor deliberations,” Marcos told reporters after the hearing.

The SK elections are initially set on February 21, 2015 after its postponement in 2013. If the Congress votes for its postponement anew, it will be synchronized with the barangay elections on October 26, 2016.

In December last year, the House of Representatives already passed the measure seeking to postpone the SK.

Marcos clarified that the postponement is not a stand alone issue as it stemmed from the reform measures for SK being discussed in Congress.

“Kung malaki ang mga pagbabago na kailangang i-implement sa SK reform bill, malaki rin ang pagbabago sa sistema ng halalan para sa SK. We are anticipating that there will be many big changes in the system of the youth representation in government,” he said.

During the hearing, the Commission on Elections called on the Congress to immediately decide on whether the SK polls will be postponed or not, with Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. noting the big expenditure needed for its conduct.

“We have a budget of P900 million but our computation is P1.1 billion is needed for the SK elections. It would be a useless expense to spend P1.1 billion under the old SK law. Can you inform us until Monday if the elections will be postponed because we will be signing contracts na?” he said.

Poll commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the longer the Congress decides on the matter, the bigger the expenses of the Comelec will be.

“As of now, in terms of cash flow, we have spent so far P6.3 million. But as the days come in, when the delivery of supplies come in, we become obligated to pay suppliers, so the more the expenses will come in. That’s why we are urging to pass the law as soon as possible to save on expenses,” he said.

Marcos said he will be closely in touch with the Comelec on the progress of the bill.

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