Barangay polls eyed next year




Tuesday, August 08, 2017
MARCHEL P. ESPINA

MEMBERS of the House of Representatives are pushing to move the barangay elections next year.

Lawmakers from Negros Occidental confirmed that during their caucus Monday, majority of the congressmen have agreed to postpone the village and youth polls, both slated this coming October, to May 2018.

Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez said the proposed new election schedule will coincide with the referendum of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

He also said there will be a holdover capacity for the incumbent barangay officials until the elections next year.

After the caucus, the House will tackle the bill filed by Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers postponing the barangay elections and will deliberate on the amendments, said Abang-Lingkod party-list Representative Stephen Paduano.

Barbers also proposed that the barangay officials will be appointed.
“I’m sure Congress will hasten the deliberation and pass the postponement because it is the consensus,” Paduano said.

First District Melecio Yap Jr. said the proposed law, once passed in the House, will then be transmitted to the plenary for the bicameral conference committee.

It will be done as soon as possible, he added.

Meanwhile, Councilor Noli Villarosa, president of Liga ng mga Barangay in Bacolod City, said the Senate will also hold a hearing on Wednesday about the postponement of the village elections.

Villarosa, a member of the Liga National Executive Board, said the Senate will deliberate on the House Bill 1469, postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to October 2018, authored by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.

Sotto filed the bill on May 23 to postpone the said elections from the fourth Monday of October this year to the fourth Monday of October next year in an answer to the appeal of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte had alleged that 40 percent of the barangay captains in the country are involved in illegal drugs.

Under the proposal, the term of office of incumbent barangay and SK officials shall be extended.

However, Villarosa said there are also proposals that only the punong barangays will stay in their respective seats and that they will appoint the new set of council members.

“The National Liga will push for the extension of terms or holdover not only of the punong barangays, but all barangay officials,” Villarosa said.