The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading the measure postponing the scheduled May 2020 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
With 194 lawmakers voting in the affirmative and six in the negative, the chamber approved House Bill 4933, which proposes to have the barangay and SK polls rescheduled to December 5, 2022.
The original version of the bill sought to postpone the 2020 barangay and SK elections to May 2023. However, it was amended before the second reading approval to change the rescheduled poll date to December 2022.
This amendment effectively synchronizes the House proposal to that of the Senate.
According to the bill, the 2020 barangay and SK polls are postponed to a later date in order to allow the incumbent village officials "to continue implementing various policies and complete programs that they just started as funds have just been made available, for a more sustainable development of the barangays."
Subsequent barangay and SK elections on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years thereafter.
The term of office of elected barangay and SK polls will start on January 1, 2023.
Incumbent barangay and SK officials will remain in office until their successors have been duly elected and qualified.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself asked Congress to postpone the 2020 barangay and SK elections during his fourth State of the Nation Address last July.
In fact, the proposal was part of the initial list of common priority measures of Malacañang and Congress.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said that the budget supposedly intended for the conduct of the 2020 barangay polls would be reallocated to items needing funding.
The items include the procurement of palay to local farmers, the improvement of the K-12 program, and the funding for the development of police and military camps.
The Senate has already approved its counterpart measure on third reading in September. — BM, GMA News