THE OVERWHELMING and undivided sentiment of village officials in the province is for the postponement of the barangay polls scheduled in October. This was the general picture of a resolution passed recently by the Liga ng mga Barangay requesting Congress to enact a law allowing the postponement of the barangay elections.
Authored by Federated Liga President Allan Godoy, the said resolution outlined several apprehensions like saying the October election not far away from the recently concluded May national and local elections “that the candidates and the people in the barangay have not recovered from the effects of the adversarial electoral process and expenditure.”
He also noted the short span of time village officials serve their communities even if they are equipped with all the seminars and trainings they attend after every election.
“Since the term of office of the barangay officials is only three years, their term would already end by the time the knowledge and skill they acquire from seminars and trainings begin to sink in,” the board member said.
The Local Government Code of the Philippines provides that the term of office of all local elective officials, including the punong barangays, shall be three years.
Republic Act 9340, an act resetting the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections, likewise provides for the holding of Barangay elections on the last Monday of October 2007 and every three years thereafter.
“That the barangay is the only local government unit that performs the three functions of government on the grassroots level, hence, the current integration of the incumbent barangay officials would be untimely severed if elections were to be held in October 2010,” Godoy’s resolution stated.
Preparedness to conduct is another consideration, the resolution added, “since this would involve election of Barangay Chairmen, Councilmen, and SK officials in all 42,000 barangays all over the Philippines.”
Postponing the election then would “save for the government more than a billion pesos in terms of election expenses for the printing of election paraphernalia, honoraria of election personnel, teachers and other deputized government personnel, traveling allowances and other related expenditures.”
The said funds could instead be used for other urgent and important projects for the benefit of the barangays and the other programs of the Aquino government like financial assistance to the victims of calamities due to El Nińo and La Nińa, the resolution concluded.
But if he’d have his way, Vice Gov. Juan Regala told this paper that he prefers the holding of the village and SK elections this coming October.
“This will give new mandate to those who will be elected and they will be equipped with drive and vigor,” he said.
Meanwhile, Councilor Baldomero Fernandez presented both aspects of the subject. He said that if elections will push through, “matagaan og bag-ong funding ang kabarangayan kay bag-o na man ang administrasyon.”
“Apan tungod kay dako og gasto ang atong gobyerno kung magpahigayon og eleksiyon, mahimong i-oktaba pod kay apiki na sa panahon. But with no law amending the holding of the barangay polls, posibleng madayon pod diay.”
Another humble thought is shared by Sto. Nino kagawad Carlos Madarang III who said: “Uyon ko mag-eleksiyon aron mahibaw-an kung giganahan pa ba ang mga katawhan sa among pagserbisyo sa barangay.”
Lastly, Ailene Quińo, a junior student of Aurora Pioneer Memorial College, remarked: “The election must go on as scheduled to give chance to those aspiring to serve for change in the barangay.”
“Three years is too short for good barangay officials but too long for the bad eggs,” she mused. - BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAGADIAN EXPRESS