Press Release
September 6, 2016

Senate Barangay polls bill to include 2 key reforms

Two key reforms meant to remove the disruptive effects of barangay elections in the construction of public infrastructure projects and in the appointment of government personnel have been incorporated in the Senate bill postponing the barangay polls.

Approved during Monday's plenary debates is the proposed amendment of Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto to allow all public works projects to continue "before, during and after" the elections except for "barangay-funded work on roads and bridges."

"This means that work on nationally-funded classrooms, hospitals, roads, irrigation will not cease during the barangay election period," Recto said.

So that such would not influence voters' choices, implementation of barangay-funded projects will, however, be suspended 10 days before the elections.

Another Recto amendment which was accepted by bill sponsor Senator Sonny Angara is the lifting of the ban on the hiring or promotion of government employees.

"This is one Jurassic provision in our barangay election laws which should go. Why, for example, would the hiring of policemen or teachers stop just because candidates for barangay kagawad have hit the campaign trail?" Recto said.

"If the position to be filled, like the ambassadorship to a certain country, has nothing to do with barangay affairs, then why should this be covered by a hiring ban?" he added.

Under the Senate bill, the ban on "the appointment, or hiring of new employees, creation of new position, promotion, or giving salary increases or privileges" shall only apply to barangay employees and shall be in effect for a period of 10 days preceding the election.

Recto said the twin amendments ensure that important services of the government will not pause during the campaign period for the country's village officials.

"However you look at it, there is no rhyme nor reason why a public works holiday or a freeze in appointing civil servants is needed during the barangay elections," Recto said.

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