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Many lawmakers prefer moving barangay, SK polls to 2017 — Angara

Senate local government committee chairperson Sen. Sonny Angara said moving the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls from 2016 to 2017 was the "most prevailing sentiment" among lawmakers.

At a press briefing after a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Angara said, "Ang tanong na lang siguro is Mayo o Oktubre gagawin kasi may nagsabi na nahirapan sila kapag Oktubre dahil maulan na."

For its part, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) appealed to Congress to come up with a decision before September 1 on whether or not to defer the barangay and SK polls scheduled in October.

The Comelec is scheduled to hold barangay and SK elections on October 31, pursuant to Section 1 of Republic Act No. 9164 as amended by Republic Act No. 9340.

Data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) show that there are a total of 3,095,187 new registrants from the two-week registration period last month.

Comelec intends to go on full swing by September for the grassroots polls, as it started over the weekend printing the 85 million ballots to be used for the elections.

For Commission on Elections chair Andres Bautista, he said he wants to remain "neutral" about the proposal to postpone the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls to 2018.

He said he is more amenable to a deferment of the grassroots polls by only a year, or until 2017.

"A one year postponement would be the optimum," Bautista said during a Senate hearing, adding that a "longer time period to prepare, the better."

Bautista said postponing the grassroots polls to 2018 would be too close to the 2019 midterm elections. 

Sen. Cayetano's proposal

Earlier this month, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said he filed a bill proposing to defer the grassroots elections to 2018, which would extend the term of current barangay officials who were elected in 2013 by two more years.

Cayetano said he feared that the public might tie the government's ongoing barangay-level anti-drug campaign to politics and the upcoming elections.

Cayetano said moving the barangay elections to 2018 would also be in line with the Duterte administration's plan to shift to a federal form of government.

By 2018 or 2019, a plebiscite could already be made for the shift to federalism, he said.

Cayetano also said if his bill is passed into law, grassroots elections would be conducted every five years, starting in 2018. — VVP, GMA News