Duterte signs law postponing barangay, SK elections

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the law postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections originally scheduled at the end of the month, Malacañang confirmed on Tuesday, October 18.

"[On] the postponement of the barangay elections. According to Executive Secretary [Salvador] Medialdea, it was already signed by the President,"  Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said in a news briefing.

The law signed by the President moves the barangay and SK elections set on October 31, 2016, to October 2017.  Under the law, incumbent barangay and SK officials will continue to serve for a year unless they are removed or suspended from office.

Banaag said the Office of the President in Manila would receive the signed copy of the law, which would be sent from wherever the Chief Executive signed it. 

"He [Medialdea] just had to wait for the courier, the aircraft that would bring home the signed law and for proper transmittal to the proper offices," she said.

She could not say where the President signed the document. Duterte just finished a state visit to Brunei, and was due to arrive in China Tuesday night for another state visit.

Duterte had supported the postponement of the barangay elections, in particular, to keep candidates backed by drug lords from winning. (READ: Drug money might influence barangay, SK polls)

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who chairs the committee on local government and authored and sponsored the measure in the Senate, said the measure aims to move this year's twin polls to the fourth Monday of October, or October 23, 2017.

Angara expressed optimism that the law would allow government agencies to pursue the necessary reforms.

“A foremost reason for pushing through with postponement is to allow more time for the full implementation of the SK Reform Act or Republic Act No. 10742,” he said in a statement.

Angara noted that the government did not allot funds in the proposed 2017 budget for the creation of a training fund for SK officials under the SK Reform Act. – Rappler.com