MANILA — Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel has renewed his pitch for the barangay elections to push through on Dec. 5, 2022, citing the need to fill up some 30,000 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) positions nationwide.
"Sa Sangguniang Kabataan, ayon sa latest data nating nakuha, nasa 34,000 na na posisyon sa SK ang bakante dahil na rin sa naging krisis ng mamamayan nung panahon ng pandemya, na kahit yung SK officials natin ay 'di din naman nakakawala," Manuel said during the Makabayan bloc's weekly press conference.
"May mga kinailangan mag-resign o 'di na nakakafunction dahil kailangan maghanap ng trabaho o pagkakaitaan para sa kanilang pamilya," he added.
(In the SK, based on the latest data we obtained, there are around 34,000 vacant positions because of the crisis during the pandemic, which did not spare our SK officials. Some had to resign or could not fulfill their duty because they needed to look for other jobs or sources of income for their family.)
Manuel and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro cast the 2 dissenting votes when the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms last Tuesday voted to postpone the barangay polls by a year after 38 House bills were filed for that purpose.
"Tingin naman nating readyng-ready na 'yung Comelec at dito nga sabi natin ay nasasagkaan na 'yung karapatan ng ating mga mamamayan na pumili ng kanilang gustong mamuno," Castro said.
(We think the Comelec is already well prepared and a postponement will suppress the right of our citizens to choose their leaders.)
The Makabayan bloc lawmakers also noted Commission on Elections Chairman George Erwin Garcia's remark that the government might have to shell out additional budget instead of saving funds if the polls are postponed.
During Tuesday's hearing, Garcia revealed the government may spend as much as P10 billion depending on the new date of the election since its postponement would require reopening voter registration, which by itself is expensive.
On top of that, the government's actual election day expense will grow since more voters would require additional supplies and electoral boards.
"Mismo nanggaling sa Comelec na hindi naman pala totoo na kung i-postpone yung election eh makakapag-save yung ating gobyerno," Manuel said.
(The Comelec itself said that it is not true that our government could save funds if the election is postponed.)
Some lawmakers had sought to defer the village and youth council elections to save funds for a stimulus bill.
The last barangay and SK elections were held in 2018.
The supposed May 2020 election for barangay leaders and youth councils was moved to Dec. 5 this year through a law.