Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero (File photo)

LEGAZPI CITY – Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero on Thursday said he is in favor of postponing the December 2022 barangay elections to 2024 so the government can start desynchronizing barangay and local elections.

“Papaburan ko ang postponement ng barangay elections -- hindi simpleng postponement lang pero dapat i-desynchronize na sa taon kung saan may local elections. Ang aking layunin ay hindi lamang anim na buwan ang pagpapalitan kung hindi sa taong 2024 para hindi sumabay sa halalan ng 2025 (I favor the postponement of barangay election -- not just a simple postponement but to desynchronize the year when there are local elections. My point is not just six months but in the year 2024 so that it won’t interfere with the 2025 elections),” he said In a statement.

Escudero, who is eyeing a Senate comeback in the May 9 election, said if his bid is successful, he would push for an amendment to the law to extend the terms of the new sets of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials.

Barangay and SK elections in the Philippines should be held every three years as mandated by Republic Act 9340. But these are often delayed, and officials end up holding office for up to five years.

Since 2018, barangay elections have been postponed thrice. The December 2022 elections should have been held in May 2020.

“Sana sa susunod, kung ipo-postpone din lang natin ang halalan, habaan na lang natin ang termino, imbes na kada tatlong taon pino-postpone natin (I hope, next time, if we will postpone the election, let's make the term of office longer, rather than postpone every three years),” Escudero said. “Parang kontrata kasi ang eleksyon. Dapat klaro sa tao ang pinapasukan nila na kontrata dun sa opisyal na iboboto nila, kung gaano katagal nga ba sila maninilbihan (Election is like a contract, the people must have a clear view of who they will vote, how long they will serve),"

By setting barangay and SK elections in a year where no other elections will be held, the government can focus on the preparation and funding for barangay polls, the governor said.

“Yung mga susunod na eleksyon para sa barangay at SK, huwag na nating itaon sa panahon na may national elections din para pagtuunan ng tamang pansin ang mga barangay dahil sa totoo lang, sila ang pinakamalapit na mukha ng gobyerno sa mga tao (Let us not allow the next barangay and SK elections to fall at a time when there are national elections so that we can give attention to the barangay since they are the closest face of the government to the people,” Escudero said.

There are 42,046 barangays in the Philippines, according to the September 2020 registry of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. (PNA)