Press Release
July 9, 2010

Zubiri seeks deferment of Barangay, SK polls to October 2012

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has moved to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections set on October this year to October 2012.

Senate Bill No. 60 seeks to reset the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and extend the terms of office of barangay officials to five years in a bid to address the issue of effective governance and implementation of long-term projects nationwide.

Zubiri said the short term, currently set at three years, for barangay officials affects the delivery of services in the most basic level of governance.

He added the recommended two-year extension for barangay leaders would likewise lessen government expenses.

The national government spent P13.5 billion in the recent May 2010 nationwide Automated Elections, while the upcoming Barangay and SK polls will cost the government a minimum of P3.5 billion.

Zubiri stressed: "These budget and governance factors demand the adoption of relevant measures in the interest of effective governance and public service."

He noted that the positions occupied by the barangay officials are non-partisan by nature and practice. Therefore, "there is no great need for their election to be held in the same year as for partisan national and local posts."

The proposed measure likewise provides sufficient time for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to ensure that the holding of the proposed October 2012 Barangay and SK elections are automated and implemented in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces covering Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, to be chosen by the Comelec, in accordance with the Automated Election System (AES) law, or Republic Act No. 9369.

It also mandates the Comelec to undertake a voter education program prior to the automated Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

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