Few late filers
Some barangays may not have enough candidates to fill slots for SK Council as very few aspirants took advantage of extension to file COCs
There might be more slots for the Sangguniang Kabataan Council than candidates, in some barangays in the rural areas, even with the extension of the deadline to file Certificates of Candidacy (COC) yesterday.
Officials from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) say it could be the anti-dynasty provision of the SK Reform Law of 2015 that is preventing aspirants to run for SK positions, especially in mountain barangays with low populations, whose officials are related.
There are 8,421 slots to be filled in the SK Council and as of Friday, 13,142 aspirants filed their COCs.
Each barangay has seven slots for SK Council but in some barangays, there were fewer candidates than the number of slots.
On the other hand, many of the youth are hesitant to get involved in the SK because of its history of being used for politics and corruption.
The journey towards a clean and proactive participation of the youth in governance has gone a long way yet some youth still dread the idea of running for the SK.
Ted Frances Servano, 20, was invited to run either as an SK chairman or SK councilor in Barangay South Poblacion in San Fernando town thrice.
But he decided to turn down all political offers because for him, politics is messy and the controversies surrounding the SK are not things he would like to get involved in.
“Di ko ganahan nga naay mag-gukod nako after sa term. Bisan pa og sa katarong nimo, if naa sa politics kay naa gyod nay sayop nga isulti against nimo,” Servano told Cebu Daily news.
(I don’t want anybody to run after me after my term. In politics, everyone will have something bad to say against you no matter how much you try to do your job well.)
Servano said that although public service is close to his heart, he wants to do it in a way that will not involve him in the game of politics.
“I am very much exposed to a lot of leadership opportunities where I can utilize my ideas for the benefit of the community and my country.
There are a lot of youth organizations in both public and private groups where I can render my service as a member or as a leader,” said Servano, who is working as a community relations coordinator involved in community development projects of a firm in San Fernando. Servano’s reason is just one factor that may have caused the low candidate registrant turnout for the Sangguniang Kabataan polls.
In Cebu, very few aspirants took advantage of the extended deadline. In Cebu City, as of 12 noon yesterday, only three aspirants in the south district and two in the north district filed their COCs.
If the posts for the SK chairmanship and the seven SK councilors are contested, there should be at least 2,406 bets for SK chairmanship and 16,842 bets for the SK Council since there are 1,203 barangays in Cebu province.
Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano said that as of the April 20 cutoff of the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC), they were not able to meet the target number of candidates for the Sangguniang Kabataan.
While 2,490 aspirants for the SK chairmanship were able to file their COCs, thus meeting the 2,406 target, the bets for the SK Council fell short of about 3,700.
This implies that in some barangays in the province, some slots in the SK Council might be uncontested or the number of candidates vying for the council is insufficient to fill in the seven seats.
This was the very reason why the National Youth Commission (NYC) requested an extension of the filing of COCs until yesterday, April 21. Although the Provincial Comelec office cannot yet provide the final count of official candidates as of the time of this writing, Castillano said that only very few filed their COCs on the last day of filing.
“But although gamay ra, di na siguro na i-extend kay ipit na kaayo among time table,” said Castillano. (Although there were only a few candidates who filed, I don’t think another extension can be done because our timetable is quite tight already.)
Provincial Election officer, lawyer Ferdinand Gujilde, said that if there will be instances where the number of candidates for the SK Council in a barangay is less than seven seats, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has the mandate to fill up the vacant seats.
Castillano said the low turnout of the candidates might be due to the imposition of the anti-dynasty provision of the SK Reform Law.
Under the SK Reform Law, an SK candidate should not be related to an incumbent elected government official up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.
This bars sons and daughters, sons and daughters-in-law, grandsons and granddaughters, grandsons and granddaughters-in-law, siblings and siblings- in -law of incumbent officials from running for SK positions.
Castillano said that there are small barangays in the rural areas of Cebu where only a few families actively participate in government. Children of
incumbent barangay officials, who are usually the ones who run for the SK, are barred from running.
Castillano also urged the public to help them enforce the anti-dynasty provision of the SK Reform Law.
He said that any registered voter of a barangay who has knowledge about an SK candidate in violation of the anti-dynasty rule may file a disqualification case before their office within five business days after deadline of the filing of COCs.
Castillano said Comelec officers cannot initiate investigations whether a candidate is related to an incumbent official since they do not hail from their place of their assignments.
“Of course, we need the people to enforce the law and to give teeth to this rule that the constitution itself is imposing,” said Castillano.
“Anti-dynasty is already in the constitution but a law should be made to enforce it. Now, this provision in SK should be made an example on how probable it is nga pwede nga walay political dynasty,” said Castillano.
Castillano said the NYC should conduct a study on the Barangay and SK Elections (BSKE) to determine the effects of the anti-dynasty provision to the outcome of the elections.
He said that perhaps, through a study, they can determine the probability of imposing the anti-dynasty provision on the barangay level and even in the municipal or provincial level.
Meanwhile, Castillano said the target number of candidates in the barangay level has already been met since the first deadline on April 20.
Castillano said that after 5 p.m. last Friday, there were 2,455 candidates for barangay chairmanship while 19,211 are running for the seven council seats in their respective barangays.
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