THE postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, the third time since 2016, is glaring proof of how the Duterte administration puts little premium on the role of village and youth leaders in the country’s development.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) – Commission on the Laity, said it was unfortunate that the barangay and youth elections have once again been postponed.
“There have been several postponements of the BSKE already,” said Pabillo, adding: “I do not know what kind of message they are sending on how seriously the national leadership values the barangays and the SKs,” said Pabillo.
On Tuesday, President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11462, which moved the barangay and youth elections from May 2020 to the first Monday of December 2022.
Under the Duterte administration, the barangay and SK elections had already been postponed from October 2016 to October 2017, and again, to May 2018.
Elections spokesman James Jimenez said the Commission on Elections will now turn its attention on the preparations for the conduct of the May 2022 national and local elections.
In a brief statement, Jimenez said the poll body “welcomes” the signing of the law as “the passage of the law finally puts to rest the question of whether or not the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will be held next year.”
“With the barangay & SK elections postponed to 2022, the Comelec will now focus its energies on preparing for the 2022 national and local elections,” Jimenez added.
Lawmakers behind the BSKE suspension have justified that altering the election date was necessary to give barangay and SK officials more time to implement their projects since they were elected only last May 2018.
For its part, the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) reiterated its opposition to the deferment of the polls.