by Pamela Ann Bangayan

andres.jpg

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista orders printing of ballots
(Photo from Philnews.ph)

      Commission on Elections (Comelec), through the National Printing Office (NPO), started on August 21 the printing of ballots for the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections although the legislative body proposed to postpone it.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said in an interview with GMA News that for as long as there is no law yet postponing the said elections, they are left with no choice but to start printing the ballots, especially that it is only 68 days away.

“The long and short of it is we must follow the law, whatever it may be. Right now, the law says we must have an election on October 31. As long as there is no law that postpones it, we have no choice but to implement the law,” Bautista said.

Comelec and NPO eyes to finish the printing of 85 million ballots on October 21, 57 million of which is for barangay elections while the remaining 28 million is for SK elections that were postponed in 2013. However, due to the issue of deferment, NPO was instructed not to “go full swing” on printing to prevent millions of ballots being tossed in the bin.Postponement vexes SK candidates

SK candidates worry that the elections will face yet another postponement and their voice in politics be permanently removed.

“Doubting the capabilities of the youth in handling responsibilities like this is tantamount to doubting Jose Rizal’s famous quote that the youth is the hope of the future. Baka sa susunod eh, alisan na nila kami ng boses sa pulitika,” Patricia Anievas, an SK candidate of Barangay 773 in Manila, said.

Anievas added that this election will serve as the training ground of the youth in nation building and in developing patriotism.

SK elections were first postponed in 2013 when the Aquino administration signed into law Republic Act 10632 due to the allegations of lost and mismanaged funds.

Bills filed in the congress and another by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano seek to move both elections in October 2018.

Cayetano said the upcoming elections may affect the anti-drug campaign of the current administration for people might link it with politics.

Kapag may captain o mayor na napangalanan [sa drugs], [baka] sabihin nila politically motivated yan,” Cayetano told GMA News Online when he filed the bill on August 17.

However, as of press time, there’s still no official statement and law postponing the said elections.

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