MANILA With the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections slated to push through as scheduled on May 14, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Tuesday urged voters to choose the right leaders who will lead and protect their communities.
In a radio interview, Aquino said that the youth and village polls would push through despite the passage of a House measure, calling for the postponement of the said elections on third and final reading.
Voting 164-27, the House of Representatives on Monday approved House Bill 7378, postponing the May 14 synchronized barangay and SK polls to the second Monday of October 2018.
The village and SK polls were originally scheduled in October 2016. These were canceled and rescheduled for October 2017 and again rescheduled to May this year amid concerns that candidates financed by drug money would win the elections.
For the bill to be sent to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for his signature, the Senate must pass a counterpart proposal.
But Aquino said that senators are against another postponement of the local polls, stressing that the people should be given a chance to choose their next community leaders.
There are only two session days left before Congress goes on recess until May 13.
Even Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said that there is little chance for the bill to hurdle the Senate in that time as a counterpart proposal has yet to pass the committee level.
"Walang ipapasa na postponement sa Senado. Wala nang makapipigil pa sa halalan sa Mayo 14 (The Senate would not pass a [bill] for postponement. Nothing will stop elections on May 14)," Aquino said.
With the impending elections, Aquino called on the public to choose their next leaders wisely, saying they should elect morally upright candidates and not those who are involved in illegal activities.
"Piliin natin ang mga pinunong lalaban para sa komunidad: malinis, tapat at walang kinalaman sa anumang krimen. Piliin natin ang pinuno na sisiguraduhing ligtas ang ating mga komunidad sa mga krimen at pang aabuso ng mga nasa kapangyarihan (Let us choose leaders who would fight for the community: clean, with integrity and has no involvement in any crime. Let us choose leaders who would ensure the safety of the community against crimes and would not abuse their powers), Aquino said.
Hee said that the coming elections would also be a good gauge in the effectiveness of Republic Act 10742 or the SK Reform Act in addressing various youth concerns.
Aquino pushed for its passage as co-author and co-sponsor during his time as chair of the Senate Committee on Youth in the 16th Congress.
The SK Reform Act is the first law in the country that has an anti-political dynasty provision.
"Pagkakataon rin ito para makita natin kung epektibo ang SK Reform Act at kung makatutugon ito sa pangangailangan ng kabataan (This will be an opportunity for us to see if the SK Reform Act is effective and would address the needs of the youth)," Aquino said.
RA 10742 adjusts the age limit for SK officials from 15-17 to 18-24 years old, making them legally capable of entering into contracts and be held accountable and liable for their actions.
The law provides that candidates for any SK positions must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected, and must not have been convicted by final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude.
The SK Reform Act also requires SK officials to undergo leadership training programs and mandates the creation of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC) that will support the SK and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations.
The LYDC will be composed of representatives from the different youth organizations in the community - student councils, church and youth faith groups, youth-serving organizations, and community-based youth groups. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency