Senate, House agree to postpone SK, barangay polls to 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Bills have been filed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives seeking to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October 31 this year to to October 23, 2017.

An overwhelming majority of the House, led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, agreed to postpone the polls during an all-member caucus on Tuesday, August 30. (READ: Alvarez wants to abolish SK, barangay councilors)

Only Cebu City 1st District Representative Raul del Mar and Kabataan Representative Sarag Elago opposed the decision. 

The consolidated House bill was filed on Tuesday and was referred to the committee on suffrage. The second reading will be held on September 5 while the 3rd and final reading is eyed for September 12.

Section 1 of Republic Act (RA) Number 9164 would be amended as follows: "That the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 31, 2016, shall be postponed to the fourth Monday of October 2017. Subsequent synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections shall be held every three (3) years thereafter."

A copy of the bill obtained by Rappler is found below:

Similarly, Senate committee on local government chairperson Juan Edgardo Angara sponsored Senate Bill (SB) Number 1112 on Tuesday afternoon, seeking a one-year postponement of the barangay and SK elections polls originally scheduled for October 31 this year.

The bill was signed by all 22 committee members along with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.

“We clearly hear the voices of those who are against the proposal. Naiintindihan po namin ang hinaing ng kabataan na tatlong taon nang hindi nakakaboto ng SK. Pero klaro rin po sa amin na sa iilang mahahalagang aspeto, hindi pa po handa ang gobyerno para maimplimenta ang RA 10742,” said Angara in his sponsorship speech.

(I understand the side of the youth who will have not been able to vote for the SK in the past 3 years. But it's still clear for us that in some aspects, the government is not ready to implement RA 10742)

As of now, SB Number 1112 is postponing the polls to the 5th Monday of October 2017 or October 31.

But House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Fariñas asked Angara on Tuesday if the Senate version could move the elections to October 23 instead because October 31 is too near All Souls' Day.

Angara agreed, telling Rappler that the date change would be made at the comittee level. He is eyeing the Senate bill to go through the 3rd and final reading by September 5.

Both Houses of Congress will move to pass similar bills in order to skip the bicameral conference committee and fast-track President Rodrigo Duterte's signing of the measure into law. (LOOK: Senate panel recommends postponement of barangay, SK elections)

Duterte himself is supporting the postponement of the barangay and SK elections, saying drug money might influence the polls.

The Commission on Elections already stopped the printing of ballots following the Duterte administration's plans to postpone the elections. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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