SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, on Friday told members of the media that the postponement of the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections is now up for the approval of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. following the ratification of the bicameral conference committee report by the Senate and the House of the Representatives.
“Pumasa na po ito sa bicam conference sa Senado. Na-ratify na po namin ito,” said Go during an ambush interview after providing assistance to indigent students in Surigao City in Surigao del Norte.
If enacted into law, Go said that the elections will be held on the last Monday of October 2023 and will then be conducted every three years thereafter.
“Hopefully, kapag napirmahan po ito ng ating kasalukuyang Pangulo na si Pangulong Marcos ay magiging batas na po ito. Matutuloy po ang postponement, magiging last Monday of October 2023 (ang bagong elections). And then (every) three years na naman po ang election,” he added.
The report on the postponement was ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives on September 28. The date change was taken into consideration for several reasons. These include: (1) a precedence of holding the elections in October; (2) the date usually coincides with school break, allowing youth voters to participate; and (3) data from a position paper by the Commission on Elections suggesting that it will be more cost-effective for the government if the elections were conducted on said date.
Previously, Go co-authored and co-sponsored the Senate bill providing for the postponement of elections. In his co-sponsorship speech, he pointed out that officials in barangays and the SK need enough time and continuity to pursue and carry out the plans they have established for their respective jurisdictions.
“Sila ang araw-araw na humaharap sa ating mga kababayan at nagsisiguro ng kaayusan sa mga barangay. They are the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies, programs and projects in the community. Naintindihan ko po ang trabaho nila dahil sila po ang kaharap ko araw-araw noon, mga suki po yan, at mga kasamahan natin sa serbisyo,” said Go.
“Bigyan natin sila ng mas sapat na panahon para ipatupad ang kanilang mga proyekto na maaaring na-antala dahil sa pandemya noong nakaraang dalawang taon,” he added.
The senator also reaffirmed the need to empower barangays as the nation’s primary unit of governance as he vowed to continue pushing for measures that would provide barangay officials more opportunities to develop their capabilities as well as provide them regular pay and other benefits.
Go earlier refiled Senate Bill No. 197, which would provide for a Magna Carta for Barangays. Go maintained that barangay officials should get comparable benefits to those provided to other government employees in recognition of their efforts to serve their constituents.
The senator also filed SBN 427 which mandates the provision of allowances and incentives to barangay health workers. A monthly allowance of PhP3,000 will be provided to all barangay health workers. They will also be entitled to security of tenure and other benefits and privileges.
Go reiterated that barangay personnel bear a heavy responsibility to help spur development in their locality so they should be provided with compensation comparable with the pay rate of regular government employees.
“Tulad ng ibang kawani ng gobyerno, dapat ay ma-recognize at mabigyang importansiya ang kanilang role sa ating komunidad,” said Go.
On the same day, Go also attended the groundbreaking of the Super Health Centers in San Benito and Del Carmen, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte and provided aid to some of the residents.