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Balance of power

By: Editorial September 28,2017 - 10:15 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to sign a consolidated bill to suspend this year’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, and already, there has been confusion over who gets to stay and who should leave as ex-officio members of their local councils.

The confusion began with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issuing a memo requiring the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) to hold elections not later than November 30 this year.

But the regional DILG clarified to the relief and consternation of both incumbent ABC presidents sitting in local councils and local officials, respectively, that they will still sit in their current capacity at least until the issue on the suspension of barangay and SK elections has been resolved.

True enough, while ABC – Cebu Federation President Celestino “Tining” Martinez III advised his counterparts in the city and towns to stay put, the DILG’s conflicting statements didn’t sit well with others, like in Cebu City where the incumbent administration wants to retain majority hold of the council while President Duterte decides on Councilor Hanz Abella’s replacement.

We hope the national government would resolve this issue immediately lest this results in more confusion and confrontations at the local level. It is safe to say though that it is perhaps only in Cebu City where the status of incumbent ABC President and Councilor Philip Zafra of the Cebu City Council is being questioned by the embattled Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).

We don’t know if there are other local governments that face this type of political conflict, but we do know that the people don’t care about these political squabbles so long as their needs are met by the government.

With BO-PK on the cusp of losing their fragile majority control of the council, there is little wonder why they are so eager to unseat Zafra after their bid to have one of their own nominated by former vice president and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) President Jejomar Binay as Abella’s replacement fizzled.

At risk in their bid to retain majority control are projects that revolve around an eventual return to full use of the Inayawan landfill as marked by the presence of a waste transfer station, some road development leading to the expansion of the landfill, and now, a waste to energy incinerator plant near the landfill.

Though barangay and SK officials have often been relegated to the role of vote-getting foot soldiers for administration parties in the political battlefield, their presence in local councils frequently spells the difference between retaining and expanding pet projects and its eventual rejection.

Hence, Cebu’s local ABC presidents are cautiously optimistic that they will continue to hold on to their posts at least until the next scheduled elections that may be held next year.

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TAGS: balance, power

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