Press Release
August 23, 2016


The Senate local government committee, chaired by Senator Sonny Angara, is set to conduct a public hearing on Wednesday to tackle bills seeking to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

"As of now, we have four proposals referred to our committee calling for the postponement of the barangay and SK polls. There is an urgent need to consider these proposed measures as we only have less than 70 days before the elections," Angara said.

Bills deferring the twin elections were filed by Senators Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Leila De Lima and Joel Villanueva.

Among the invited resource persons for tomorrow's hearing are Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, National Youth Commission Chairperson Aiza Seguerra, Rafaela Mae David of the SK Reform Coalition, Edmund Abesamis of the Association of Barangay Captains, and Alfonso Umali Jr. of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

Angara's Senate Bill 1049 aims to reset the barangay and SK elections from the originally scheduled October 31 of this year to the last Monday of October 2018.

If passed, the terms of the barangay officials would be extended to five years from the current three years.

"The postponement will afford Congress more time to study how the country's 42,036 barangays could be further empowered, and to possibly pass reforms and amendments to existing laws including the Local Government Code.

"It will also provide a measure of political stability, as the country dives head on into debates on Charter Change," Angara said.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has stated that the polls should be moved to a later date to avoid "election fatigue" in the country following the May 2016 national elections.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, has earlier thumbed down the proposed deferment of the elections so as to do away with the "overstaying" of barangay officials.

The Comelec has started printing the 85 million ballots that will be used for the October barangay and SK polls despite various proposals from Congress to postpone it.

Chairman Bautista said they are hoping to receive an advisory from Congress whether or not to push with the elections by the end of August so the Comelec can halt the preparations and the money spent would not be wasted.

Republic Act 9164, enacted in 2002, provided for the synchronization of the barangay and SK polls, mandating that the election of barangay and SK officials will be held on the last Monday of October and every three years thereafter.

In 2005, under RA 9340, the twin elections were reset to October 2007 to ensure that elections will be spaced apart following the 2004 national elections.

In 2013, RA 10632 was passed postponing the SK elections to February of 2015 to enable the Congress to legislate substantial reforms in the structure, accountability and other aspects of governance of the SK.

The Congress, however, failed to pass the envisioned SK reform law by 2015, so it further deferred the SK polls to the last Monday of October 2016 under RA 10656.

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