Congress urged: Don’t stop barangay, SK polls; Comelec sets registration

>> Tuesday, June 7, 2022

By Gab Humilde Villegas and Ferdinand Patinio/PNA 

VOTER REGISTRATION is set to resume next month or July, the Commission on Elections on Monday said, even as Election watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) and other civil groups on Friday urged the upcoming 19th Congress not to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) scheduled for December 2022.
    Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said the registration will start six months before the holding of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls later this year.
    "By June or July, we will already resume the registration of voters," he said in a press conference.
    "To those that have yet to become registered voters, watch out for the resumption of voter registration by June or by the first week of July," he said.
    The voter registration is not only for regular voters or those 18 years old and above, but also those who are looking to vote in the SK polls.
    Garcia added that registration is also the start of their preparations for the December barangay and SK elections.
    The voter registration for the May 2022 elections ended on Oct. 30, 2021. 
    LENTE said that delay in barangay and SK polls contravenes the standard of periodic elections as provided under Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adding that despite prioritizing pandemic response, it should not collide with the citizen’s basic right to elect Barangay and SK leaders.
    “Juxtaposed with this reality, we see the BSKE as the most attainable level of organic citizens’ participation in public service and governance,” the group said.
    “BSKE is the best testament that citizens with limited resources would like to take part in nation-building given the right opportunities,” it added.
    The group believes that the Barangay and SK polls have been long overdue, and it has been postponed thrice since 2016, when the upcoming polls were supposed to be held in May 2020.
    “We see the further postponement of the Barangay and SK Elections as an attack against grassroots democracy and community power,” the group said. Commissioner Garcia previously said the preparations for the barangay and SK polls will start by June or July despite calls for its postponement, where he also reiterated that the P8.441-billion budget for the elections remains intact.
    This comes after House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said that the postponement of the Barangay and SK polls will generate savings that can be allocated for Covid-19 response and economic stimulus.


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