Bacolod City – The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms postponed the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE), initially scheduled on December 5 this year, to December 4, 2023.
This was result of their committee hearing, with two of the 14 members voting against the proposal to postpone the BSKE to next year.
Makabayan bloc Reps. France Castro of ACT Teachers and Raoul Manuel of Kabataan Party-list opposed the postponement of the BSKE.
Negros Occidental 4th district Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer was among the 12 of the 14 House panel members, who voted in favor of the measure, which allegedly aims to divert the funds to help the poor who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Winners of the barangay and SK polls in December 2023 will begin their terms on Jan. 1, 2024 for a period of three years.
In a statement, Comelec chairperson George Garcia welcomed the poll postponement, which he described as the “best option,” noting that 2024 is too close to the next midterm elections.
“We at the Comelec, we will just abide by the mandate of Congress and the Executive as far as postponing the election is concerned, whether it be May of 2023, December of 2023, and not in 2024 because by that time, we will be preparing for the 2025 elections,” Garcia said in a statement.
He also asked lawmakers to act swiftly in crafting a law for the BSKE postponement.
However, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) does not support pushing back again the BSKE.
In a statement, PPCRV said that BSKE and COVID-19 response are both key priorities with their respective budget allocations and the importance of one should not be made the reason for diminishing and deprioritizing the other.
The PPCRV said postponement deprives the citizens not only of the right to vote for community leaders but also of the critical need to replace those who are not adequately exercising their mandates. (With report from PNA, Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)