MANILA—A Senator on Thursday urged Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to rethink his plan to postpone the barangay (village) elections on October noting that the people want to choose their next leaders.
Pres. Duterte earlier said that aside from postponing barangay elections, he also wants to replace all barangay officials with appointees as many of them are involved in the illegal drug trade.
“To further postpone barangay elections and opt to instead appoint the barangay officials means to impinge on the people’s right to vote and choose their leaders,” Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.
“We urge him (Pres. Duterte) to rethink this particular move. Let the people choose who they wish to serve them,” he added.
Pangilinan explained that the foundations of the Philippine government lie in its roots, in the smallest units of governance and that barangay officials are practically people’s neighbors and faces that they know best.
He further said that barangay officials know the heart of their towns more than any public servant of the country through proximity and familiarity.
The senator further said that electing them instead of appointing them would give officials a kind of connection other leaders could never forge with their constituents.
In September 2016, the Senate approved the bill postponing barangay and youth council or Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1112 on third reading with 20 affirmative and two negative votes.
The bill has so far incorporated two key reforms during plenary debates which are meant to ensure that important services of the government will not be affected during the campaign period for barangay officials.