MANILA, Philippines?The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday blamed fresh calls to postpone the barangay elections and scrap the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) for the unexpected low turnout of voter registration for the upcoming balloting.
Out of the Comelec?s target of 3.8 million new voters, only 1.6 million have registered to participate in the barangay and SK elections on Oct. 25, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters yesterday.
Jimenez attributed the disappointing figure to the recent appeals by government officials to abolish the SK and proposals to synchronize the barangay elections to the local and national balloting.
?The number of new registrants is far less than we expected,? Jimenez admitted yesterday. ?The hovering possibility of postponement of the Oct. 25 polls could have discouraged a large number of our kababayans to go out and register,? he added.
Early last month, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 60 seeking the deferment of the synchronized elections for barangay and SK officials to October 2012.
The bill was aimed at extending the terms of office of barangay officials to five years in a bid to address problems in effective governance and implementation of long-term projects nationwide.
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo also submitted this week a draft bill to Malacañang calling for the abolition of the SK and the election of a single youth representative during the barangay elections on Oct. 25.
The abolition of SK would help the government save some P3.5 billion in expenses, according to Robredo.
Comelec records yesterday showed that 675,402 voters applied for registration for the barangay elections. The number included applications for transfer and reactivation of registration records, correction of entry and reinstatement of name in the voter?s list.