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BACK TO MANUAL POLLS. A teacher at the Ramon Magsaysay High School on Espaa Boulevard in Manila preparing tally sheets during the 2004 elections. ERIK ARAZAS






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Barangay, SK polls for beginners

By Salvador B. Belaro Jr., Dexter A. Francisco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:06:00 10/16/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Youth, Local authorities

JUST when everyone thinks that the country has moved on with its ?hangover? from the May general elections, here comes another ? the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

While the new election season started without much fanfare, perhaps because it coincided with the onset of the ?ber? months, it could be a misleading calm.

Historically, the barangay polls are more violent than the national and local elections. Considering that the elections involve the smallest unit of our government, it is not hard to see why candidates need to be as up close and personal as possible in courting voters.

As for the SK, time was its best ally in deflecting recent calls for its abolition. Detractors who said that kids in the SK better be in school rather than engage in politics were left resigned to the fact that their opposition to the youth organization was for naught as there was no more time to amend the Local Government Code which provides for SK?s existence.

As expected, SK national chair Jane Cajes came to the defense of the organization, citing its role as a breeding ground for leaders and as a good avenue to channel the energies of the youth from contemporary evils like addiction.

To help educate the public and voters, here are questions about the forthcoming polls and their answers.

1. When will the country hold barangay and SK elections?
October 25 (Monday)

2. Where will voters cast their votes?
In the polling center in the barangay where the voter is registered. Look for the Posted Computerized Voters List (PCVL) which is to be posted at the door of the polling center and look for the voters? name and the precinct number where one is assigned to vote.

3. Why are the polls synchronized?

Barangay and SK officials serve the same local government unit (the barangay) and thus, it is more practicable and cheaper to synchronize their elections.

4. Why are the elections manual and not automated?

Voting and counting will be manual because there is no law mandating these to be otherwise. This is unlike the case of the May 10 automated polls where Republic Act No. 9369, amending RA 8463, expressly authorized the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to use an automated election system.

5. What is a barangay?

A barangay is the basic political unit of government. It serves as the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies, programs and activities in the community, and as a forum wherein the collective views of the people may be expressed, crystallized and considered and where disputes may be amicably settled.

It is usually housed in a barangay hall where the aforementioned functions are rendered, including the issuance of permits and cedulas.

6. What is the Sangguniang Kabataan?

Section 423 of the Local Government Code of 1991 calls for the creation of a Sangguniang Kabataan in every barangay to be composed of a chair and seven members. The chair appoints a secretary and a treasurer from the members.

It is different from the Katipunan ng Kabataan which shall be composed of all citizens of the Philippines residing in a barangay for at least 6 months, who are 15 but not more than 18 years of age, and who are duly registered in the list of the Sangguniang Kabataan or in the official barangay list in the custody of the barangay secretary.

The Katipunan ng Kabataan is the youth constituency in a barangay while the Sangguniang Kabataan is its governing body.

7. What are the powers of the punong barangay (barangay chair)?

The punong barangay is the chief executive of the barangay government. He is mandated by law (Sec. 389, RA 7160), among others, to : (1) Enforce all applicable laws and ordinances; (2) Negotiate, enter into, and sign contracts for and in behalf of the barangay; (3) Maintain public order in the barangay (i.e. maintain roving peace officers [tanod]).

(4) Enforce laws and regulations relating to pollution control and environmental protection; (5) Administer the operation of the katarungang pambarangay; (i.e. conciliation) and (6) Ensure the delivery of basic services.

8. What are the powers of the SK chair?

The SK chair shall, among others: (1) Call and preside over all meetings of the Katipunan ng Kabataan and the SK; (2) Implement policies, programs and projects for the youth; and (3) Exercise general supervision over the affairs and activities of the SK.

9. Who are qualified to run in the barangay and SK polls?

Candidates for punong barangay and sangguniang barangay kagawad (council member) must be: (1) Filipino citizens; (2) At least 18 years old on Election Day: (3) Able to read and write Filipino or any local dialect; and (4) Registered voters of the barangay where they intend to run for office and residents thereof for at least one year immediately preceding Election Day.

Candidates for SK chair and SK kagawad (council member) must be: (1) Filipino citizens; (2) At least 15 years old but less than 18 on Election Day; (3) Able to read and write Filipino, English or the local dialect; (4) Qualified members of the Katipunan ng Kabataan of the barangay where they intend to run for office and residents thereof at least one year immediately preceding the elections; and (5) Must not have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

10. Who are qualified to vote?

Only those who are registered for the elections in a particular barangay can vote for the elections. In the same manner, only those registered can vote for the SK elections in that barangay.

Registered voters for the barangay elections are at least 18 years old, residents of the Philippines for at least one year and for at least six months immediately preceding the elections in the barangay where he proposes to vote, and should not otherwise be disqualified by law.

Registered voters for the SK polls have the same qualifications except that they should be at least 15 years old on the date of the elections and not more than 18.

Disabled and illiterate voters can vote provided they are registered as such and as voters in the precincts where they will be voting.

11. When is the campaign period?

The campaign period is from October 14 to October 23.

12. Why are political parties barred from the polls?

The prohibition stems from the legal mandate to make the barangay and SK elections ?non-partisan.?

Non-partisanship refers only to nonparticipation of duly accredited political parties. It does not prohibit anybody from exercising his or her freedom of expression to either promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates. What is prohibited is simply the participation of any political party.

13. Are there spending limits for candidates?

Yes. Every candidate?s spending limit is P3 for every registered voter (aggregate amount) in the barangay where he seeks to be elected.

14. What is the voting time?

The casting of votes shall start at 7 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

15. Who will conduct the voting and counting of votes?

The board of election tellers (BET), composed of a chair and two members (all of whom should be preferably public schoolteachers) are tasked, among others, with conducting the voting and counting of votes.

16. How do we vote?

Get a ballot from the BET chair.

Upon receipt of the ballot, sign beside your name on the Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL).

Proceed to the voting area and write on the ballot the names of your chosen candidates, using a ballot secrecy folder.

After voting, fold the ballot and return to the BET chair.

Place a thumb mark on the ballot coupon and thereafter, give the ballot to the BET chair.

Before leaving the voting area, allow the BET chair to daub indelible ink on your right forefinger.

17. How will the votes be counted?

The BET shall publicly count the votes in the polling place.

They shall unfold the ballots and form separate piles of 100 ballots each, which shall be held together with a rubber band. The chair shall take the ballots for the first pile one by one and read the names of the candidates voted for.

The poll clerk and third member shall record each vote on election returns and tally sheet as the name of the candidate voted for is read. Each vote for a candidate shall be recorded by a vertical line, except every fifth vote for the same candidate, which shall be recorded by a diagonal line crossing the previous four vertical lines.

The same procedure shall be followed for the succeeding piles of ballots.

After all the ballots are read, the BET shall record in words and figures, the total votes obtained by each candidate both on the election returns and on the tally board. The counted ballots shall be placed in an envelope provided for the purpose, which shall be sealed, signed and deposited in the compartment for valid ballots.

18. What is the Board of Election Canvassers?

There shall be one barangay board of election canvassers (BBOC) in each barangay to canvass the election returns for both the barangay and SK elections and thereafter proclaim the winning candidates.

The BBOC is composed of a chair, vice chair and member-secretary. The chair shall be chosen from among the different chairs of the BETs in the barangay.

In barangays with only one BET, it shall convert itself into a BBOC.

19. How is canvassing and proclamation done by the BBOC?

Canvassing starts with the member-secretary of the BBOC receiving the envelope containing election returns (ERs).

Thereafter, the chair of the BBOC opens the envelope and retrieves the ERs. The BBOC shall then proceed to canvassing by reading the votes of the candidates on the ERs and entering them in the statement of votes.

Immediately after an ER is canvassed, the chair shall write on the upper right-hand corner the word ?canvassed? and affix below it his signature and the date of the canvass. After completing the statement of votes, the BBOC shall prepare the certificate of canvass and proclaim the winning candidates.

20. What is required of citizens and voters so that the Comelec can successfully hold the elections?

Vigilance, cooperation and support.

Ideally, each voter should also be a watcher.

(Lawyers Salvador Belaro Jr. and Dexter Francisco are the authors of the election comics YO! VOTEME 2010 [P49 at National Bookstore] which is intended for candidates, watchers and voters. [For volume orders, please call 09175363718.] They are the founders of the Voters? Education Institute. Belaro is a graduate of UP [BA, cum laude; LLB] and Cornell University [Master of Laws]. Francisco is a former editor of the MLQU Law Journal, governor of the MLQU Student Council and a provincial attorney.)

FACTS AND FIGURES

42,025 Number of barangays

8 Number of elective posts in a barangay council
(one barangay chair and seven council members)

8 Number of elective posts in a Sangguniang Kabataan
(one SK chair and seven council members)

50,257,540 Registered voters (18 and above) as of Oct. 9

2,459,520 Registered voters (15 to 17 years old) for SK elections

55 Fatalities in the 2007 barangay elections

Sources: Commission on Elections and Inquirer Archives

Compiled by Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research



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