The government is prepared to hold the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or youth council) elections this year, Malacañang said Saturday as lawmakers scramble to pass a measure that seeks to postpone the electoral exercise.
“While we adhere to the President’s position of postponement of barangay and SK elections, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), like the Commission on Elections (Comelec), has always been prepared in case the barangay elections will push through,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Saturday.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved on second reading the bill that seeks to again defer the local elections. Instead of holding the elections in October this year, lawmakers proposed that it be held on the second Monday of May 2018.
The Senate version of the bill proposes that the electoral exercise be held in October 2018, according to Rep. Sherwin Tugna of the party-list Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption.
“The possible remedy is to harmonize this in a bicameral conference committee,” Tugna, who leads the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, told The Manila Times on Thursday.
In October 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a bill moving the village and SK polls October 31, 2016 to October 2017.
The Comelec had said that the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) will start as scheduled this month.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said on Thursday that the weeklong filing of COCs will be from September 23 to September 30. The campaign period will be from October 13 to October 21, 2017.
Unless stopped by Congress, the twin polls will be held on October 23.
“Unless Congress gives us the assurance that the polls will be postponed, our preparations will continue. We need to be prepared as mandated by law,” Jimenez said.