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PIA Press Release

LMP urges Senate to approve postponement of barangay, SK polls

Tacloban City (October 1) -- The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) issued an urgent appeal to the Senators to take a similar step proposing and approving a counterpart bill for the postponement of the forthcoming barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections.

The League of Municipalities noted that the House of Representatives about two weeks ago, approved on third and final reading House Bill 2417 which seeks to postpone the Barangay and SK elections from October 29, 2007 to May 11, 2009.

The League opined that postponement of the synchronized barangay and SK polls will not stifle grassroots democracy but instead will enhance grassroots participation in a meaningful way through reforms during the intervening period.

The postponement will enable the Commission on Elections to finally computerize voting and counting which is considered as the main safeguards against vote manipulation.

The short breathing spell between the May midterm synchronized elections and the scheduled October 29 Barangay and SK election, leaves the local government units hardly enough time to properly prepare for yet another nationwide political exercise.

The League also opined that the postponement will save a lot of money for the government which has appropriated some P2 billion for the polls. It will save almost P400 million for the about 42,000 barangays nationwide, each of which will share the cost of the elections that include the transportation allowance and honorarium for each of the Board of Election Tellers, in addition to the incredible campaign expenses to the candidates.

Further, the League said that the new date that may be set up by the Senate and the House will lead to the holding of the barangay and SK polls with the elections in 2008 of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. When this happens, it will mean additional savings by the government.

The intervening period will hopefully be used in initiating important reforms in the Barangay system and to rationalize the SK structure, the League said.

Beside, the postponement will be implemented under a new set of COMELEC officials, who will then be more prepared for undertaking COMELEC's mandate under the law to computerize the next elections, the League added. (PIA 8) [top]

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