MANILA - Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno on Tuesday said barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will be postponed this year to give way to the country's infrastructure backlog.
The DILG chief said the 45-day ban on public works and construction before and after every election will take a toll on ongoing and proposed infrastructure programs.
[READ: 10 infrastructure projects up for Duterte approval: NEDA ]
He said that because of the construction moratorium mandated by law, every election stops both national and local infrastructure development by three months.
"That means for this year alone, construction will be delayed by 6 months," Sueno said in a radio interview on DZMM Tuesday.
The government has been working to fast-track the implementation of projects as President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to boost infrastructure spending by as much as P7-trillion throughout his term.
[READ: Duterte gov't eyes spending P900-B for infra ]
"I spoke to Senator Koko Pimentel. It’s really going towards the postponement of both elections, the barangay and the SK elections," Sueno said.
BARANGAY OFFICIALS AS DRUG PROTECTORS
He also shared the stance of Duterte that the barangay and SK polls should be postponed due to fears that drug money may be used to fund the campaigns of those running for barangay posts.
[READ: Duterte backs postponing barangay, SK elections ]
"There are many barangay captains that are drug protectors. Some drug lords are still in power now so there is a big chance that their protectors might be reelected," Sueno said.
Sueno added that if barangay and SK polls will be postponed, the intended budget for the elections set on October 31 can be used "to put up more rehabilitation centers for drug pushers and users who have surrendered."
[READ: OVERCROWDED: A look at PH's biggest rehab center ]