No to another postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections — LENTE
ANFREL member in the Philippines, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) and other like-minded organizations launched a petition calling for the next Congress not to postpone the scheduled Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. Sign the petition here.
We amplify our call to the next Congress not to postpone the December 5, 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (“BSKE”) amidst news that some incoming House of Representatives members are looking at the postponement of the BSKE to save funds for the country’s pandemic response.
Republic Act 11462 mandated that synchronized Barangay and SK elections should be held every first Monday of December and every three years. But in the past, BSKE are often delayed, and officials end up holding office for up to five years. This delay contravenes the standard of periodic elections as provided in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although the pandemic response should be a top priority, this endeavor should not have collided with the citizen’s basic right to elect Barangay and SK Leaders.
Political dynasties with strong machinery and loaded arsenal dominated the positions in the recently concluded national and local elections. In the Senate alone, 6 out of 24 slots are occupied by 3 political families. Political clans also dominated the party-list system in the House of Representatives. 845 of the 18,023 local seats, mostly from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Western Visayas, were unopposed. Juxtaposed with this reality, we see the BSKE as the most attainable level of organic citizens' participation in public service and governance. BSKE is the best testament that citizens with limited resources would like to take part in nation-building given the right opportunities.
We have noted the citizens' highly participative attitude that manifested prior, to during, and after the May 9, 2022 Elections and was reflected through the 82.6% high voter turnout. Official voter statistics show that the youth played a huge role in deciding the next Philippine leaders. A total of 37,015,901 fall under the age bracket, accounting for 56% of the total number of registered voters. The young people are the hope of the nation with their ideals and steadfast commitment to moral and ethical values, which we aim to see in their participation in governance.
With this, we believe that the BSKE has been long overdue. Since 2016, barangay elections have been postponed thrice. The December 2022 elections should have been held in May 2020. We see the further postponement of the Barangay and SK Elections as an attack against grassroots democracy and community power.
We urge the local community chiefs and youth organizations to support our call to push through with the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in December 2022. Sign this petition.