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'Preparations for barangay, Sangguniang Kabataan polls to continue'.

Preparations for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will continue even though the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms approved its postponement to Oct. 8, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

'The Comelec is taking this development in stride...A law is needed to reschedule the elections,' Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.

Jimenez said the House panel's approval is only the first step in the legislative process.

Eduardo Ano, DILG officer-in-charge, said they would wait until the law postponing the elections again is signed.

'The DILG is hoping that the barangay and SK elections will not be postponed for the third cleanse the ranks of barangay officials of non-performers,' Ano said.

He expressed concern over the report of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that 32 percent or 6,744 of 42,036 barangays across the country are moderately affected by the drug menace while one percent or 208 barangays are seriously affected.

The Comelec Employees Union expressed disappointment over the possible third postponement of the elections, noting that the ballots have been printed.

'Government resources will be wasted if we postpone the polls again,' Comelec employees said in a statement.

If the House measure is signed into law, it will be the third time that the barangay and SK elections will be postponed. It was moved from October 2016 to October last year and then to May 14 this year.

Up to Congress

Malacanang said it is up to Congress to decide whether to postpone the elections again.

'(President Duterte) defers to the wisdom of Congress in this regard. He has expressed a preference that it should push through, but if Congress decides, he will respect the decision,' presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

'I understand that the developments are at the House...I'm not sure if there is any development at all at the Senate,' Roque added.

The President had earlier said it is up to the lawmakers to decide whether to postpone the elections again.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said there is no guarantee they would approve a counterpart measure.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Mar 14, 2018
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