A lawmaker proposed to postpone the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) to Oct. 9, 2023.
In filing House Bill 1367, Davao Oriental Representative Cheeno Miguel Almario emphasized the need to “buy more time” for Filipinos and the country to recover from the impact of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In his explanatory note, Almario stated that the two elections would cost the government roughly P10 billion, which could instead be used for initiatives to keep the people safe and help the economy bounce back.
“Replacing these barangay and SK officials with a new set at this time, when the country is still trying to get back on its feet, will be counterproductive.”
“On the other hand, the May 9, 2022 National and Local elections ushered in new sets of officials, elected and re-elected, who will definitely benefit from the experience of the existing barangay and SK officials in fighting the pandemic. Replacing these barangay and SK officials with a new set at this time, when the country is still trying to get back on its feet, will be counterproductive,” the legislator said.
The measure stipulates that all incumbent officials would remain in office, unless removed sooner or suspended.
The lawmaker noted that postponing the barangay and SK elections would allow time “to heal the wounds” caused by the May 2022 elections.
Quezon City Representative Ralph Tulfo, for his part, backed the proposal to postpone the BSKE scheduled on December 5, 2022 as it would give the government “ample time” to prepare after the 2022 national and local elections were just held in May.
Tulfo said holding the BSKE in May 2023 instead would be both an “affirmation and a reward” for the “faithfulness and service” of barangay and SK leaders to their constituents.
“Tamang timpla na ang May 8, 2023 bilang bagong petsa ng halalan para sa Barangay at SK – hindi masyadong malapit, hindi rin masyadong malayo.”
“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 masyadong malayo,” the legislator said.
The lawmaker said postponing these elections for too long would not be fair to those officials who served the people well especially during these pandemic years.
He said barangay and SK leaders are the first line of public service most Filipinos experience on a daily basis, stressing that it is crucial that their mandates are renewed often to make sure “the local leaders continue to have the consent of the governed”.
Tulfo said bad governance should not be allowed to persist, especially in those barangays whose leaders have failed their constituents.
“Postponing the Barangay and SK Elections to May 6, 2024 as has been suggested by some would be prolonged agony and suffering to those citizens who have not been served well and competently by their local leaders. Wag naman pong masyadong matagal, ituloy na po natin ang eleksyon sa May 2023,” he said.
Cebu City Rep. Rachel del Mar has also filed a bill proposing to move the BSKE to December 4, 2023, saying that conducting the BSKE this year would add to the “present division” of the electorate.