MANILA - The Senate-approved bill on the postponement of the barangay polls incorporated two reforms that will lift the election ban on the construction of public infrastructure projects and the appointment of government personnel.
Under the approved Senate bill, all public works projects, except "barangay-funded work on roads and bridges," may be constructed "before, during, and after" the polls.
"This means that work on nationally-funded classrooms, hospitals, roads, irrigation will not cease during the barangay election period," Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said.
The appointment of public officials who are not on the barangay level will also not be covered by the election ban.
"This is one Jurassic provision in our barangay election laws which should go. Why, for example, would the hiring of policemen or teachers stop just because candidates for barangay kagawad have hit the campaign trail?" Recto said.
"If the position to be filled, like the ambassadorship to a certain country, has nothing to do with barangay affairs, then why should this be covered by a hiring ban?" he added.
Despite the relaxation on the law, barangay-funded projects and barangay-related appointments will still be subjected to a ban 10 days prior the barangay polls to ensure that these will not be used to influence voters' choices.
Both chambers of the legislative department have agreed to move the barangay polls from October 31 this year, to a later date in 2017 after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his concern that illegal drug money may be used to fund the campaigns of those running for barangay posts.