The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) expressed opposition to the proposal to postpone this year’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections that were earlier scheduled for December.
“The calls to postpone the barangay and [SK] elections seem to undermine the barangay’s important role and significance in the daily dissemination of basic services to the Filipino people,” read the Church-based group’s statement on Monday, August 15.
The group noted that the calls to postpone the elections “are not new.”
While the law mandates that synchronized barangay and SK elections be held every three years on the first Monday of December, past postponements have seen barangay and youth leaders holding extended terms of office of up to five years.
“This is a dangerous precedent. Postponement deprives the citizens not only of the right to affirm and once more vote for the barangay leaders who provided good and dependable leadership and ensured the timely flow of necessary services most especially during the trying times of the pandemic,” read the PPCRV statement.
It said that the postponement of the election “also deprives citizens of the right and critical need to replace those leaders who did not optimally and adequately exercise their voter-given mandate.”
PPCRV noted that the reason offered for the proposed postponement is to allow time for the nation “to heal” after the May 2022 elections.
“But how can the deprivation of the democratic right to vote and choose leaders in the timeline mandated and scheduled by law become a means of healing?” asked the group.
Another reason is the proposed reallocation of the Php8.2 billion funds earmarked for the elections to COVID-responsive programs.
PPCR, however, said the elections and COVID responsiveness are both key priorities with their respective budget allocations.
“The importance of one should not be made the reason for diminishing and deprioritizing the other,” it added.