By NITZ ARANCON
LAWMAKERS in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental yesterday hailed the agreement of members of the Lower House to postpone the October barangay and youth elections.
On Tuesday afternoon, congressmen agreed to reschedule the elections on October 2017, said Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy.
“Yes, it’s OK with me,”said Uy. “We had a meeting with Speaker (Pantaleon) Alvarez yesterday (Tuesday) and we agreed to extend the SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) and barangay elections on Oct. 4 or 5, 2017. The majority and minority parties agreed on it,”said Uy.
House majority floor leader Rodolfo Fariñas said this was the consensus during an all-member House caucus led by Speaker Alvarez.
But he said the House bill seeking to defer the elections would be filed during Tuesday’s plenary session while the House committees on suffrage and electoral reforms will begin their deliberations on the same day.
Fariñas said he expects the second reading to be finished next week while the third and final reading on Sept. 12.
Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr. said he was “100 percent” certain that the bill being pushed by Alvarez would be approved, citing that the Speaker has the support of the “super majority.”
Councilor Yam Lam Lim, the president of the city’s Association of Barangay Councils, lauded Alvarez for the move to postpone the barangay and youth elections “aron ang gastohon sa gobyerno alang sa barangay election gastohon nalang kini sa pag-construct sa mga rebahilitation centers alang sa mga drug addict ug uban pang mga priority sa Duterte administration.”
But Lim said that while the move favors the incumbent barangay officials, it has made their challengers unhappy.
“Pabor kanamo kini nga proposal kay incumbent man kami, pero suko sab tong uban nga nagkisi-kisi na nga mokandidato pagka-kapitan,” he said.
Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr., a former barangay chairman of Lapasan, said there was no acceptable reason for the postponement of the barangay elections.
Lao said the move is against a provision in the Local Government Code. “Ang Local Code nag-ingon nga duna gayoy barangay election matag tulo ka tuig, unya karon, ila lang basta-bastahon nga i-postpone bisan walay ilang substantial reason.”
Councilor Enrico Salcedo disagreed with Lao, saying the move would actually make the government save money.
Salcedo said the country has just concluded the national and local elections in May. “Dili maayo nga magsigi lang ta ug election kay dako ang gasto sa gobyerno.”
Councilor George Goking said he, too, favors the postponement of the barangay and youth elections although the move has been greeted with mixed emotions.
“Mix emotions ang labas ani kay naay nalipay nga i-postpone ang barangay election, naa poy nagsubo kay nakagasto na,” Goking said.