House committee OKs bill postponing barangay, SK polls

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2016 05:02 PM | Updated as of Sep 06 2016 06:52 PM

MANILA – A House committee has approved a bill postponing this year's barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls to 2017, with subsequent elections scheduled every second Monday of May for three years afterwards.

The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms endorsed the House Bill 3384 to the plenary after considering at least 13 bills seeking the postponement of the polls.

Among the amendments admitted into the final committee version of the bill were:

-Subsequent barangay and SK elections will be held every 2nd Monday of May every three years after 2017;

-Terms of the barangay and SK officials elected in the May 2020 elections and subsequently thereafter shall begin June 30 following their election;

-Until their successors shall have been elected and qualified, all incumbent barangay officials shall remain in office unless removed or suspended for cause;

-A 10-day ban before the election on the hiring of new employees, the creation of new positions, promotions or giving of salary increases, remuneration or privileges;

-A similar ban on the construction or maintenance of barangay funded roads and bridges;

-The extension of the validity of the current budget for the barangay and SK elections to next year as they will be considered continuing appropriations (P936.12 million for the SK elections and P155.16 million for the SK registration under the 2015 budget; P5.9 billion for the barangay and SK elections, and P506.27 million for the registration under the 2017 budget); and 

-The barangay council is disallowed from using SK funds until a new set of SK officials are elected.

According to Committee Chairman Sherwin Tugna, they are targeting to finish the first reading of the bill by Wednesday, and want to finish second reading by next week, so they can start on the third reading as soon as possible after that.

“Aantayin naman natin iyong version ng Senate, which more likely will be the same as the House's. Kung parehas iyan, di na tayo dadaan sa bicameral conference committee [We will wait for the Senate's version, which is likely similar to House's. If they're the same, we don't have to go through a bicameral conference committee],” he said.