On with the polls

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BARANGAYS are the most basic administrative divisions in the Philippines. Dating back to pre-colonial times, they were the basic units of society which became the “barrios” during the Spanish and American eras up to the early years of the Philippine Republic.

In 1974, then President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the renaming of barrios to barangays. The term survived the 1986 EDSA Revolution to become the smallest local government units under the Local Government Code of 1991, which states: “As the basic political unit, the barangay serves as the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies, plans, programs, and activities in the community.”

Since 2007, barangay elections have been held every three years. But in October 2016, Congress enacted a law postponing the village polls to October 2017, while another law was passed postponing them to May 14, 2018.

Last month, the House of Representatives approved a bill for yet another postponement to October 2018. However, the President never certified the bill as urgent and the Senate did not have a counterpart version.

With both congressional chambers going on a seven-week summer break, it would be too late to recall our legislators from their vacations and schedule a special session just to postpone the barangay elections for a third time.

Besides, the Comelec keeps on saying that it is prepared to conduct the polls for a fresh set of “kapitans” and “kagawads” in the country’s more than 42,000 barangays.

Barring any extraneous event, it’s all systems go for a changing of the guard in the most basic pillar of our democracy.

p: wjg

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