MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it is not surprised by the move of the House of Representatives to approve the bill seeking to defer the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to December 5, 2022.
“This does not come as a surprise,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a message to reporters. “The COMELEC had, in fact, slowed down preparations for the Barangay Elections of 2020 in anticipation of this legislation.”
Jimenez said that with the impending approval of Congress on the measure, the poll body is now looking to focus on preparing for the next national and local elections.
“With the approval of the House and the looming decision of the Senate on the same matter, the COMELEC is looking forward to focusing on the process of re-starting the continuing registration and, in the longer term, preparing for the 2022 National and Local Elections,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Lower House gave its nod to a proposal seeking to reschedule the local polls to allow more time for incumbent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials to implement and complete their respective projects.
After the 2022 elections, subsequent barangay and SK elections will be held on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years thereafter.
The amended version of the House bill is similar to the one that Senate passed on September 30.
President Rodrigo Duterte, during his fourth State of the Nation Address in July, called on Congress to postpone the village elections.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expecting an influx of ‘last-minute’ registrants at the voter registration for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Comelec will officially close the voter registration at 5:00 p.m. on Monday (September 30). Comelec Spokesperson Dir. James Jimenez said their office is prepared to handle the number of registrants.
“An influx of registrants is to be expected. The COMELEC has anticipated this, and we are confident that our employees in the field are prepared to handle the last-day registration scenario,” he said.
Based on Comelec Resolution 10549, Comelec will implement the following protocol for the last day of voter registration.
If there are still applicants lined up to register within the thirty (30) meter radius from the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) by 3:00 P.M. of September 30, 2019, their names will be promptly and consecutively listed down.
Each name will be announced repeatedly three (3) times in the order in which the applicants’ names were listed. Applicants who are not present when their names are called shall no longer be allowed to file their application.
When an applicant’s name is called and he/she is present, his/her application will be processed and his/her biometrics data will be captured. The process continues until all those listed shall have been processed.
An Express Lane is provided for Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens and Heavily Pregnant Applicants.
There are around 2.6 million registered voters in the country as of August 1 this year, according to Comelec’s data.—AAC
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday (Sept. 16) asked, during the Senate budget hearing, for a P9.8-Billion budget for 2020.
The poll body said this will cover the P5.77-Billion budget for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE), which they have been preparing for despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous statement that he wants it postponed.
Comelec said Congress has to enact a law for the postponement of the BSKE.
“Ang pakiusap namin, your honor, is sana mapabilis iyong pagpasa ng batas otherwise we have no choice but to incur some expenses preparatory expenses especially so na tali po kami ng procurement law,” said Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas.
Comelec added that should the BSKE be postponed, they request for it not to be held close to the 2022 elections.
“If postponement happens it would be preferable if it would be one year before or one year after the May 2022 (elections). So, it could be either May 2021 or May 2023,” said Commissioner Antonio Kho, Jr.
The Senate budget hearing also focused on the low voter turn-out of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the last election.
Of the five million OFWs who are qualified to vote, only 1.8 million were registered and only 18% of which actually voted.
Comelec pointed out the inadequate information dissemination for voters and the distance of the voting centers in some countries as reasons for the low voter turn-out. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
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