Pangasinan Comelec readying for polls despite likely postponement

DAGUPAN CITY, Aug. 8 — Despite another proposal for the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Pangasinan has not stopped preparing for these two political exercises.

In keeping with its mandate, the Comelec is continuously preparing but Congress should make its decision fast on whether it will again pass a law postponing the two elections before the poll body can print the ballots, said Provincial Elections Supervisor Marino Salas.

He said the Comelec will need 70 million ballots nationwide in these two elections and will spend less than than Php1 billion for their printing alone, which will just go down the drain if these will not be used.

Salas said there are 2.4 million voters in Pangasinan, up by close to 80,000 from the number of voters in the 2016 polls.

Of the number, at least 1.7 million are voting in the barangay elections and another 691.949 in the Sangguniang Kabataan election.

He said under the law, the SK members are those from 15 to 30 years old. However, only those 18 to 25 years old can run or aspire for SK positions.

Salas admitted that to date, they have not received the guidelines on whether or not those 18 to 30 years old who are SK members can also vote in the barangay elections.

It was noted that Congress is bent on again postponing the barangay polls to May next year. However, Salas said Congress should better make its decision fast before they can print the ballots.

Salas said that personally he wants the election to be held as scheduled on October 23 so that the people will be given the chance to choose their own set of barangay and SK officials who will rule their communities for another three years.