Election watchdog bucks proposal to postpone village polls

MANILA — A Church-based election watchdog opposed the proposal to postpone anew the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls set on May 14.

“Postponement of elections done with frequency may become a habit and will not be good for the Philippines and democracy,” said Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chairperson and former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento.

Sarmiento said the holding of elections is to give the people a chance to choose their leaders.

“Periodic election is a must to give the electorate an opportunity to retain performing elective public officials and repudiate the non-performers,” he explained.

“Grassroots democracy through barangay elections is a must for local good governance and there is no substitute. Heaven forbid that postponement of elections becomes a habit and a habit, our destiny,” the PPCRV official said.

Last week, Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro) filed House of Representatives Bill 7167 that sought the postponement of the forthcoming polls to 2019.

The lawmaker noted that holding the village and youth polls this year would be costly for the government as it will be spending some PHP8 billion.

Once approved, it would be the third time that the polls have been suspended. The election was originally set in October 2016 but was moved to October 2017 and again to May this year.

It was in October 2013 when the last barangay elections were conducted while the recent SK elections were held in October 2010.

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