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House panel OKs 2-year delay of brgy, SK polls

September 3, 2007 5:49pm
The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms on Friday approved a proposal seeking to move the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October this year to May 2009, radio dzBB reported on Monday.

DzBB quoted Makati Rep. Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin, chairman of the said panel, as saying that the committee "unanimously approved" the proposal asking for the postponement of the twin elections and moving them instead to the second Monday of May 2009.

The report said the committee members made the decision during the first hearing at the House of Representatives of the said proposal, which was authored by Cebu Rep. Edgardo Gullas.

Earlier, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that unless Congress says otherwise, the twin polls would push through in October 29 despite calls for its postponement.

Gullas reportedly said the government could not afford to spend a huge amount of money for another elections, five months after the May 14 midterm polls.

The 2007 General Appropriations Act allocated P9.17 billion budget for the Comelec. Almost half of the budget or P5.2 billion was spent for the May polls.

The barangay and SK elections will cost taxpayers P2.131 billion.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had released P139 million for the registration of youth voters for the SK elections.

A separate report from radio dzMM said that Locsin’s committee is preparing a report on its decision to postpone the polls. The report needs approval by the House Committee on Rules.

DzMM quoted Locsin as saying that while other House committees were busying themselves with budget deliberations on Monday, his committee met with resource persons from the Comelec to discuss the proposal.

The report said that during the meeting with the legislators, Comelec officials said that "serious automation" for both elections would require the poll body two years of preparation.

Officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government and the DBM attended the meeting, dzMM said. MARK MERUEÑAS, GMANews.TV