PNoy signs law postponing SK polls to 2016

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2015 07:39 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2015 03:39 AM

MANILA - President Aquino has signed a law that postpones the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to October 2016.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said President Aquino signed into law Republic Act No. 10656 postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan elections to the last Monday of October 2016.

The President signed the law on Mar. 25, 2015.

The SK elections were initially set for October 28, 2013 before Congress reset it to February 21, 2015.

The Commission on Elections later postponed the polls to April 15 as the poll body awaited Congress’ approval of a law synchronizing it with the barangay polls in October 2016.

Meanwhile, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. welcomed the signing into law by President Aquino of the measure postponing anew the SK elections and synchronizing it with the holding of barangay elections on the last Monday of October 2016.

The Speaker said the poll resetting is part of the reform thrusts of the Aquino administration.

"We are glad that the President has signed into law the proposal to reset the SK polls. The postponement will enable both Houses of Congress to adequately discuss much needed reforms towards a more responsive SK, and which are appropriate amendments to applicable provision of the Local Government Code," the Speaker said.

Secondly, the Speaker said the poll postponement will allow the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to focus and fully prepare for the 2016 national and local elections in May 2016.

"With so many positions up for grabs in the coming May polls, the Comelec needs full attention to prepare for and ensure that the elections will be conducted successfully in an honest, orderly and peaceful manner," Belmonte said.

Republic Act 10656 titled "An Act Postponing The Sangguniang Kabataan Elections To The Last Monday Of October 2016, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 9164, As Amended, Entitled "An Act Providing For Synchronized Barangay And Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, Amending Republic Act No. 7160, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The "Local Government Code Of 1991, And For Other Purposes," amends Section 1 of RA 9164 and RA 10632 so that the SK elections on Oct. 28, 2013 shall be postponed to the last Monday of October 2016.

It mandates the Comelec and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to promulgate such rules and regulations necessary to implement the Act within 30 days after its effectivity.

The Speaker said the House passed its version of the SK postponement proposal, House Bill 5209, on third reading as early as December 1, 2014. The Senate passed the proposal on February 2, 2015.

House Bill 5209 is a consolidation of House Bill 5006 filed by Rep. Anthony G. Del Rosario (1st District, Davao del Norte) and HB 5043 of Rep. Nicasio M. Aliping Jr. (Lone District, Baguio City). Aside from Del Rosario and Aliping, HB 5209 is authored by Reps. Marlyn L. Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan), Mariano U. Piamonte, Jr. (Party-list, A-Teacher), Eulogio "Amang" R. Magsaysay (Party-list, Alliance of Volunteer Educators), and Rep. Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin).

Earlier, Capiz Rep. Fredenil H. Castro (2nd District, Capiz), chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said the proposed amendments to reform the SK would be separately tackled by the House Committee on Local Government. -- With a report by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News