Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during their session on Tuesday.
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The Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) Palawan chapter has expressed its support to several proposals for the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) scheduled on December 5 this year.

Provincial ABC President and Sangguniang Panlalawigan ex-officio Board Member Ferdinand P. Zaballa said during their regular session Tuesday that while there was a news item that went out last week stating he is pushing for the postponement of the December 5 BSKE, it is not his personal position but a collective stance of the barangay officials.

“Hindi lamang ako bilang kasalukuyang presidente ng Palawan Liga ang nagdedesisyon. Boses ito ng karamihan sa mga kapitan. Ang desisyon ng karamihan ay ating iginagalang. Lagi tayong handang making. Ang liga ng mga barangay ay nagkakaisa na gusto naming ma-extend yung panunungkulan namin, at ma-postpone ang elections,” Zaballa said in his privilege speech.

He said aside from the P8 billion which the national government will save, he cited COVID-19 pandemic and the Devolution Transition Plan as among the major reasons for their desire to postpone the elections.

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“Noong pahanon ng pandemya, nakatuon yung trabaho naming sa pag-address ng COVID. Kung baga, yung trabaho namin bilang punong barangay, naging concentrated kami as health worker – contact tracing, check point, ayusin yung BHERT. Sa makatuwid, lahat ng pondo at resources, nakatuon sa COVID at nakalimutan yung ibang barangay development at ibang proyekto,” he explained.

“Isa pang dapat pagtuunan ng pansin ay ngayon lang nagkaroon ng devolution transition plan. Ang gumawa nito ay yung mga nakaupo ngayon – gray area pa yun sapagkat hindi nabigyan ng tamang kakayanan, kapasidad ang mga barangay official kung ano yun,” he added.

Zaballa also expressed disappointment over the position of Board Member Ryan D. Maminta who earlier threw his support for the holding of the December 5 elections. He said the country has just come from a divisive practice last May 9 and thinks is not yet ready for another one.

Last week Maminta filed a resolution favoring the non-postponement of the BSKE.

Maminta said much of the P8.4 billion allotted for the BSKE elections have already been spent by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for preparatory activities.

“Gagastusin din naman natin ‘yon sa 2023 bakit hindi na gastusin ngayon? He asked.

“Ang clamor ng ating kababayan at ako mismo nakausap sila na gusto nila magkaroon na ng halalan, for purposes of fresh mandate at ma-practie naman natin ang democratic rights natin exercising free elections. Palitan ang dapat palitan, manatili ang dapat din manatili base sa desisyon ng taumbayan,” he explained.

After hearing Zaballa’s privilege speech, Maminta also said that while he feels the former’s sentiments, the fate of the elections is not in their hands.

“Eventually, the electorate will be the one to decide. However, on the matter of postponement of the election, it is now up to the Congress or maybe COMELEC and maybe even the Supreme Court if ever they will need to resolve this matter,” he said.

“The Liga has spoken, and we have a pending resolution on the matter so we might as well discuss this thoroughly in the committee to crystalize everything,” he said. (with reports from Genn Magdayao)

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