Senate approves on 2nd reading bill to defer barangay, SK polls
The Senate on Tuesday approved on second reading a bill to postpone this year’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections for another year.
The election was originally scheduled for Oct. 31.
A similar measure must also be passed by the House of Representatives before the two chambers convene a bicameral committee to reconcile their versions.
Once ratified by both houses, the approved bill will then be transmitted to the President for signature.
Twenty-two of 24 senators earlier affixed their signatures to a committee report recommending the postponement of the elections to October 2017.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said his amendment, allowing all public works projects to continue “before, during and after” the elections except for “barangay-funded work on roads and bridges,” was incorporated in the bill.
“This means that work on nationally funded classrooms, hospitals, roads, irrigation will not cease during the barangay election period,” Recto said in a statement before the second reading approval on the floor.
He said the implementation of barangay-funded projects, however, would be suspended 10 days before the elections.
Another amendment that was accepted in the plenary, Recto said, was his proposal to lift the ban on the hiring or promotion of government employees.
“This is one Jurassic provision in our barangay election laws which should go. Why, for example, would the hiring of policemen or teachers stop just because candidates for barangay kagawad have hit the campaign trail?” he said.
“If the position to be filled, like the ambassadorship to a certain country, has nothing to do with barangay affairs, then why should this be covered by a hiring ban?”
Recto pointed out that under the bill, the ban on “the appointment, or hiring of new employees, creation of new position, promotion, or giving salary increases or privileges” should only apply to barangay employees and should be in effect for a period of 10 days preceding the election./rga
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