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Delay barangay elections to “repair wounds” from the 2022 elections: Solon

On Wednesday, a congressman suggested moving forward the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) from December 2022 to October 9, 2023.

Representative Cheeno Miguel Almario of Davao Oriental underlined the need to “purchase more time” for Filipinos and the nation to recuperate from the effects of the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) epidemic when he filed House Bill 1367.

Almario claimed in his explanation that the two elections would cost the government about PHP10 billion, money that could instead be allocated to programs that would keep the populace secure and aid in the recovery of the economy.

On the other hand, new authorities who were elected and re-elected during the national and local elections on May 9, 2022, will undoubtedly gain from the knowledge of the current barangay and SK officials in combating the pandemic. It will be ineffective to replace existing barangay and SK officials with a new group at this time, when the nation is still attempting to get back on its feet, Almario added.

According to the law, incumbent officials must serve out their terms before being dismissed or suspended.

Almario pointed out that delaying the barangay and SK elections will give people more time to “repair the wounds” left by the elections in May 2022.

Ralph Tulfo, a representative from Quezon City, supported the idea of delaying the BSKE, which was originally set for December 5, 2022, saying that it would give the government “ample time” to prepare after the May 2022 local and national elections.

As a “affirmation and a reward” for the “faithfulness and service” of barangay and SK leaders to their voters, Tulfo claimed that hosting the BSKE in May 2023 would be preferable.

“I think May 8, 2023 is the perfect match for the new date of the Barangay and SK elections—not too soon, not too distant,” Tulfo said. “Palagay ko po ay tamang timpla na ang May 8, 2023 bilang bagong petsa ng halalan para sa Barangay at SK — hindi masyadong malapit, hindi rin masy

According to Tulfo, a protracted delay of the elections would not be fair to the elected officials who, particularly during the pandemic years, provided excellent public service.

In order to ensure that “the local leaders continue to enjoy the consent of the governed,” he stressed the importance of regularly renewing the mandates of barangay and SK officials, whom he described as the first line of public service that the majority of Filipinos encounter on a daily basis.

He argued that poor administration should not be allowed to continue, especially in barangays where the elected officials have let their residents down.

“If the Barangay and SK Elections are postponed till May 6, 2024, as some have urged, the citizens who have not been treated well and efficiently by their local officials would endure extended misery and agony. Let’s not put off the election too long; the election will take place in May 2023. Elections should be held in May 2023 “said he.

The representative for Cebu City, Rachel del Mar, has also submitted a bill that would postpone the BSKE until December 4, 2023, claiming that holding it this year will exacerbate the “current split” of the electorate.

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