Weeks before the smallest government seats open to elections after many postponements, the Committee on National Issues and Concerns once again encouraged the Lasallian community to participate in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections (BSKE) in Kapihan ng Malalayang Lasalyano (KAMALAYAN): Kwentuhang Paghahanda at Pakikilahok sa Barangay and SK Elections last September 27 at the Henry Sy Sr. Hall Grounds.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson Atty. John Rex Laudiangco discussed that the number of Certificates of Candidacies filed for the upcoming BSKE rose to 1.42 million compared to just one million filed during the 2018 BSKE. However, some Barangays are left with little to no candidates due to the anti-dynasty provision of the SK Reform Act. National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) Secretary-General Eric Alvia noted that prospective candidates are hesitant because of their being in college as well as political patronage in certain areas in the country.
While this appears to be a concern, Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) Program Director Brizza Rosales said that having fewer aspirants running for office provides a concentrated pool of candidates to choose from, which she considers as the “brighter” side of the situation. She asserts that the public may now better choose the best person for the job.
Laudiangco said that the anti-dynasty rule highlights the importance of equal representation in government, pointing out that many individuals are qualified but are not given the opportunity because of political dynasties.
Other electoral policies that will be implemented in the upcoming polls were also discussed. Laudiangco provided a walkthrough on Comelec’s processes for potential defacement cases with the prevalence of artificial intelligence, assuring that due process is given through their series of investigations.
Alvia and Rosales also mentioned some initiatives their organizations do to oversee the elections. NAMFREL outsources reports and maintains an app providing informational materials for voters regarding the elections, while LENTE monitors the spending of candidates during the election period.
Amid these measures, the panelists urged Lasallians to be vigilant and to demand accountability from their leaders. Laudiangco advised voters to look into a candidate’s capacity to lead and follow the rules rather than their qualifications, noting that some candidates exhibit tendencies of not following laws they should be implementing.
“Elect good, competent, qualified, God-fearing, and law-abiding leaders. You just have to involve yourself. Kilalanin mo sila.” Laudiangco said.
(Get to know them.)
Several key points that were already discussed in the Kapihan ng Malalayang Lasalyano: Kwentuhang Barangay and SK Elections last February 27, including the importance of the barangay and SK and how they are the closest government to the people, were also raised during this iteration of KAMALAYAN.
Campaigning for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections began last October 19 and will run until 28, while election day is on October 30.