Batac Comelec Unfazed by Low Turnout of SK Candidates

Batac City — With the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections barely two weeks away, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in this city is having difficulty with respect to the number of candidates for the SK election.

Batac Comelec records show that only one candidate has filed a certificate of candidacy for the SK kagawad post as of October 10, 2007.

According to city election officer III Josephine Balbas, it could be because of the requirements needed in filing, which she said includes drug tests, pictures, and documentary stamps among others, and which the SK kagawad candidate would have to shoulder all the expenses even if they would not be receiving any honoraria should they be elected.

Only the SK chairmen receive honoraria.

As a result, candidates for SK kagawad may have not enough money to use which hinders their interest to file their certificates of candidacy.

Nevertheless, Balbas said this problem would not affect the coming elections and it would still push through.

She also explained that the Comelec only entertains the candidates and it is the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which checks if the candidates have fulfilled the needed requirements.

Meanwhile, Balbas said they are expecting at least 800 candidates for the barangay and SK elections, which translates to roughly 15-30 candidates per barangay.

Balbas also appealed to those who are determined to run to file their COCs now and not wait for the last day of filing since their names would still be forwarded to the Comelec central office.

Reacting to this, Batac DILG officer Bartolome Gonzales said his office could also not do anything if there would be no candidates for SK kagawad.

Gonzales said what they did in SK previous elections was to conduct special elections in barangays which has no SK chairmen or incomplete SK kagawads.

He also stressed that the elections would continue whether there would be a complete or incomplete list of candidates as he added that it would be up to higher officials if a special elections would be conducted should there be a lack of SK officials in certain barangays.

The Ilocos Times further learned that SK kagawads only receive educational benefits but only in government-owned educational institutions and with limited courses only. - From The Ilocos Times by Dominic B. de la Cruz

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