Solons want barangay, SK polls to push through sooner than later

House members of the 19th Congress want the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BKSE) to push through no later than May 2023.

Citizens line up to register with the Commission on Elections (Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel and Quezon City 2nd district Rep. Ralph Tulfo have both voiced support for the holding of the BKSE polls, citing a demand for good governance even after the recent May 2022 national elections.

Manuel urged that the youth register to vote following the recent resumption of voter registration in order to begin the push for good governance without having to wait for the next national polls slated in 2028.

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"Hindi natin kailangang mag-abang pa sa 2028. Simulan natin ang pagsulong sa politika ng pag-asa at pagbabago sa ating mga komunidad at malaking bahagi nito ang paghalal ng lokal na opisyal na titindig at maglilingkod para sa interes ng kabataan at hindi maging sunud-sunuran sa mga trapo at dinastiyang nasa pwesto na (We don’t have to wait until 2028. Let’s start the push for politics of hope and change in our communities; a big part of this is the election of officials who will defend and serve the interests of the youth, and who will not submit to corrupt politicians and dynasties already in power)," Manuel said on Monday, July 4.

"Ipinasa ng Kabataan Party-list sa 18th Congress ang SK Empowerment Law upang tiyaking maging propesyunal at nagsasarili ang mga Sangguniang Kabataan bilang mga lider sa komunidad (The Kabataan Party-list passed the SK Empowerment Law in the 18th Congress to ensure that the SK becomes professional and independent as community leaders),” he continued.

Republic Act (RA) 11768 or the SK Empowerment Law was signed into law on May 6, 2022 in order to strengthen the powers of the SK as well as to offer honoraria and benefits to SK officials. Former Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago was a principal author of the law's House equivalent, House Bill (HB) 10698.

“Kalakip nito dapat ang pagtuloy sa eleksyon upang umusbong ang bagong mga lider at makilatis sila ng kabataan bago mahalal sa pwesto (The BKSE must push through so that new leaders can be elected and be evaluated by the youth before they are elected),” Manuel concluded.

Tulfo also echoed the call for good governance, though he believes that the BKSE should instead be deferred by five months to May 2023.

“Good governance must be repaid with new mandates, poor governance must not be allowed to persist. I favor holding the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in May 2023, just a few months after December 5, 2022, so that the Comelec (Commission on Elections) and the electorate will have ample time to prepare since the 2022 national and local elections were just held,” Tulfo said in a statement on Wednesday, July 6.

“Postponing the Barangay and SK Elections to May 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 (There should be no extended deferral, let's hold it in May 2023),” he added.

In his statement, Tulfo also said that he would be willing to offer free rides to offices of the Comelec so that his constituents from Quezon City’s 2nd district could register to vote.

There were three bills filed in the previous 18th Congress seeking the postponement of the December 2022 BSKE: HB 10425 authored by former Davao Oriental 2nd district Rep. Joel Almario; HB 10678 by former Valenzuela 1st district Rep. Wes Gatchalian; and HB 10831 authored by former Duterte Youth Rep. Ducielle Cardema.