The law postponing the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections or BSKE has been signed which, political analysts say, paves the path for the passage of the Magna Carta for the barangays.
Under the new law, the next BSKE will be held on Dec. 5, 2022, nearly six months after the six-year term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends in June 2022, effectively extending the terms of office of the incumbent SK and officials of 42,045 barangays.
To be elected are 42,045 barangay chairmen and at least 294,000 barangay councilmen or “kagawad,” as well as 41,995 SK chairmen and 293,365 SK councilors.
The intent of the law putting back the scheduled elections on May 11, 2020 to Dec 5, 2022 is to extend the term of incumbent officials, and give them what national leaders call the “fullest opportunity” to serve their constituents and finish whatever projects they have launched.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles put it suitably: “The intent is to improve public service and make local governance more responsive to the needs of the people [and the postponement] ensures our continued path to progress and better service at the grassroots level, which is one of the main policy aims of the Duterte administration.”
With the law now signed, the administration has geared up in working with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the National Youth Commission and the Commission on Audit to finish the manual on financial management for the SK.
Nograles has said this “will help improve how the SK’s allocated funds are utilized to serve the youth in the barangay [and] we are also working on legislation that would allow SK officials to receive an allowance so that they can actively perform their duties as elected officials.”
In President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address this year, he called on Congress to defer the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to recalibrate the abbreviated terms of sitting barangay officials.
At the same time President Duterte urged the two Houses of Congress to work on the Magna Carta for Barangays, which aims to declare officials as regular government officials.
The path to progress has been paved. Filipinos raise their hopes.