ILOILO City – Though there have been reports that Congress would be postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has started printing official ballots for the scheduled Oct. 23, 2017 polls.
Atty. Dennis Ausan, Comelec Region 6 director, said the poll body has to follow its timetable in the wake of Congress’ continued indecision on the postponement.
The original schedule for ballot printing was actually July 24 but the Commission decided to wait for a few more days for Congress to decide on the postponement.
“Nag-abot na sa punto nga we cannot already wait for them. We need time for the printing of the official ballots,” said Ausan.
Since there is no new law yet on the postponement of the barangay and SK elections, Comelec must proceed with its poll preparations, he stressed.
Ausan said they also have to print election returns, statement of votes, accountable and non-accountable forms, and they have to conduct bidding for other election paraphernalia.
“Kon may postponement, ti we will be wasting so much money pero wala ta may mahimo. We have to do our job,” said Ausan.
As far as Comelec-6 is concerned, according to the director, everything is in order.
They have already wrapped up the voters’ registration, “then naka-ubra na kita ‘project of precincts’ wherein makita ang number of registered voters both for regular barangay and SK election sa tanan nga provinces, cities and municipalities.”
“Practically tapos na sa part sang field personnel. Ang constitution of Board of Election Tellers and training of teachers for the election will come around August and September,” he added.
In a caucus on Aug. 7, leaders of the House of Representatives agreed to postpone the barangay elections and synchronize it instead with the plebiscite for Charter change and the proposed Bangsamoro basic law on May 2018.
The last barangay election was conducted in October 2013.
The 17th Congress in 2016 approved the bill postponing the 2016 barangay and SK elections to 2017, with the officials retaining a holdover position. In agreeing to the postponement, lawmakers cited the government’s campaign to weed barangays of officials in cahoots with drug traffickers./PN