Press Release
September 25, 2019

Senate bill postponing barangay and SK elections approved on second reading; Bong Go reaffirms full support for welfare of barangays

Senate Bill (SB) No. 1043 postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections was approved by the Senate on second reading on Tuesday, September 24, now only needing the third and final reading to hurdle the upper chamber.

If passed into law, the measure will postpone the elections to December 5, 2022, while subsequent elections will be held on the first Monday of 2025 and every three years thereafter.

For his part, Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go has always been vocal of his support for the proposed postponement, stating that barangay officials must be given ample time to perform their mandates.

"Hindi po kasalanan ng mga barangay officials ang postponement ng nakaraang eleksyon. Dapat lang sila mabigyan ng sapat na oras para maimplementa ang mga programa nila para sa kanilang mga pinaglilingkuran," Go said in numerous instances as part of his campaign promises when he ran for the Senate in the 2019 midterm elections.

"Mga barangays natin ang pinaka-frontline ng ating gobyerno sa paghahatid ng serbisyo at sa kampanya natin laban sa iligal na droga at kriminalidad. Kaya dapat lang na mabigyan natin sila ng oportunidad at sapat na oras upang makapagpatupad ng kani-kanilang mga programa at proyekto," he further explained.

Go, himself, filed in July SB 201, his own version of the bill. At the committee level, Go's bill was consolidated with SB 222, SB 671, SB 869, and SB 875 filed by other senators, resulting in SB 1043, the substitute bill discussed in the plenary and sponsored by Senator Imee Marcos as the Chairperson of the Committee on Electoral Reforms.

Go explained during the interpellation on the said measure that his proposal would give the next elected president and new barangay officials the opportunity to work and accomplish programs together.

"The interval would grant the next elected president and barangay officials the opportunity to work hand in hand and accomplish their projects and programs together," Go said.

The Senator cited that during the time President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in 2016, it took two years before new barangay and SK officials were elected to support the administration's campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.

"If we move the next barangay elections following or immediately after the national elections in 2022, we would then have a new set of leaders from the barangay all the way to the national level. The next administration can buckle down and set a new direction," Go explained.

The senator also pointed out that the shorter gap between the national and the barangay elections "would mean a shorter waiting time for them to be able to work collectively and, in effect, align their agenda, direction, objectives, and programs sooner, ultimately for the benefit of the people who placed them in office."

While elated that the proposed postponement of the elections has gained support in the upper house, Go also stressed the need for a magna carta for barangays to promote the welfare of barangay officials and address the daily issues faced by the country's smallest unit of governance.

The senator filed SB 391 in July which provides for the Magna Carta for Barangays. Once passed into law, barangay and SK officials will be entitled to salaries, emoluments, allowances, such as hazard pay, representation and transportation allowance, 13th month pay and other benefits given to regular government employees.

"Sila (barangay officials) ang pinakaunang tinatakbuhan ng ating mga kababayan," Go said in his previous pronouncements. "And it is because of this reason that we have to further improve the barangays and address the woes of our barangay officials."

To support the campaign of the government against illegal drugs, criminal and corruption, the measure will also allow barangays to determine the number of tanods needed to maintain peace and security in their communities instead of the present set-up where they are limited to twenty per barangay.

Go said that he will continue to push for the said measure as it is one of his campaign promises to the people and the President, himself, mentioned it in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The Magna Carta for Barangays is one of my top priorities because I understand the work of barangay captains. Araw-araw po sila ang humaharap sa tao. Bigyan natin sila ng kapasidad at alagaan natin sila upang mas makapaglingkod sila sa mga tao at matulungan ang administrasyon na labanan ang korapsyon, iligal na droga at kriminalidad sa ating mga komunidad," Go said in his earlier interviews.

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