Reset bgy, SK polls – Zubiri

PNS — SENATOR Juan Miguel Zubiri wants the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections reset from October this year to October 2012.

Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 60 resetting the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections as he pushed to extend the terms of office of barangay officials from three years to five years to fully implement long-term projects nationwide.

He said the two-year extension for barangay leaders will also lessen government expenses. Zubiri said the short term, currently set at three years, for barangay officials affects the delivery of services in the most basic level of governance.

The government spent P13.5 billion in the recent May 2010 nationwide automated elections, while the upcoming barangay and SK polls will cost the government around P3.5 billion.

“These budget and governance factors demand the adoption of relevant measures in the interest of effective governance and public service,” Zubiri said.

He noted that the positions occupied by the barangay officials are non-partisan by nature and practice. “Therefore, there is no great need for their election to be held in the same year as for partisan national and local posts,” he said.

The proposed measure likewise provides sufficient time for the Commission on Elections to ensure that the holding of the proposed October 2012 barangay and SK elections are automated and implemented in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces covering Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, to be chosen by the Comelec, in accordance with the Automated Election System law, or Republic Act No. 9369.

It also mandates the Comelec to undertake a voter education program prior to the automated barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.