Postponing Barangay and SK Elections and Democracy

Does the looming postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections depict something?

While we are still focused on “hazing” issues and the human rights situation, the national lawmakers in both chambers are cooking up for the postponement of the Barangay and SK elections. According to Senator Francis Tolentino, “the postponement of previous barangay elections has limited the term of service of current officials to only two years, which he said is not enough for them to conduct their training, perform their mandates, as well as the new directives issued by President Rodrigo Duterte regarding cleanup operations.”

While his thoughts are noble for the hapless barangay officials, a disservice to the people is clearly apparent. The Senator and his fellow Congressmen are not looking into the bottom of why the village elections keeps to be postponed again and again, or are simply trying to be naive? It is becoming clear that the barangay and local elections are a good way to reward “performing” barangay and even SK officials. Because they “facilitated” the election of administration candidates last May 2019, isn’t it but right to reward them with a free term extension?

The level of democracy is defined among others by the regularity of elections. The more regular the elections, the higher the level of democracy. But while we bear with the sacrifices of the “short-termed” barangay and SK officials, we should also look at the bigger picture. If elections is being used as a carrot-and-stick, doesn’t this reflect the kind of governance that President Rodrigo Duterte has? Note that the President already postponed thrice the elections. Barangay and SK elections were already postponed from October 2016 to October 2017, but was further pushed back to May 2018 after Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10952.

The current political environment is already being called as “repressive” and “less democratic” by government critics. Does this postponement support or debunk their claims?

Please leave your comments below.

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