Solons seek postponement of 2013 barangay poll

January 22, 2012 11:00 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Jan. 22 — Mindanao lawmakers are strongly pushing for the resetting of the October 2013 barangay election to the last Monday of October 2015 not only to reduce electoral expense but also to give barangay officials ample time to complete their projects.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the postponement of the barangay poll will also help unite the country.

"Elections, whether national, local or barangay, prove to be conflict-ridden among the populace especially coming from the heels of the very divisive May 10, 2010 polls. During these trying times for our country, division is the last thing that we need," he said.

In seeking for the postponement of the barangay poll under House Bill 5654, Rodriguez noted that elections in the Philippines are always a costly exercise, both for the candidate and the government.

He said in the May 2010 national elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) entered into a contract for the automation of the counting of the votes for the amount of P7.2 billion, just for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines alone.

For the 2013 elections, excluding the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and barangay polls, Rodriguez said the COMELEC is projecting a budget of P15 billion to P20 billion.

"It could be a safe bet to state that the upcoming 2013 barangay elections could top the 2010 spent for the barangay polls, which amount could be better spent for other government projects like construction of bridges, roads and other infrastructure projects, and even school buildings," he said.

"For a country whose budget deficit was estimated to reach a record high of P349 billion by the end of the year, (the) P3.6 billion (spent in 2010) is too high a price to spend on barangay elections," he noted.

HB 5654, co-authored by Abante Mindanao party-list. Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr., also effectively extends the term of the barangay officials, "a move that would ensure stability in the barangay level so that the programs initiated by the current leaders would come to fruition."

The Cagayan de Oro City solon said the three-year term of barangay officials is too short a time for the developing unity and stability in barangay leadership and affairs.

"Three years is not enough to ensure that the programs of the barangay are carried out properly considering the fact that it cannot be denied that the last year of the term is basically used for campaigning," he said. (PNA)



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