MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives ratifies a bill on Wednesday, Sept. 28, deferring barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from December 5, 2022, to the first Monday of October 2023.
The bill will now be sent to Malacañang for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to sign into law after both chambers of Congress ratified the bicameral conference committee report.
This bill provides more synchronized barangay and SK elections and shall be held on the last Monday of October 2023 and every three years thereafter.
Following their election, officials elected in the 2023 barangay and SK elections will take commence at noon on November 30.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) commends the postponement of barangays and SK elections will incur additional costs of up to Php 10 billion.
Comelec Chairman George Garcia’s statement effectively refuted earlier statements by lawmakers that postponing barangay elections would allow the government to save money. Instead, lawmakers wanted to use the Comelec’s original P8.4 billion barangay elections budget for pandemic response.
The bill included a hold-over provision as a result of the postponement. According to the law, “until their successors are duly elected and qualified, all incumbent barangay and SK officials shall remain in office unless sooner removed or suspended for cause.”
The office of House Speaker Martin Romualdez stated that Comelec’s budgetary needs following the postponement will be addressed.
“Funds necessary for the implementation of the law postponing the barangay and SK elections shall be taken from the appropriations of the Comelec under the General Appropriations Act or supplementary appropriations that Congress may subsequently approve,”
Some lawmakers believe that deferring the barangay and SK elections will help the country heal after the contentious presidential election in May, but government regulators argue that doing so will deprive voters of their right to vote.
Nonetheless, the Comelec will continue to prepare for the barangay and SK elections until Marcos signs the bill postponing the December 2022 election.
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