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Both Houses of Congress passed the bills postponing barangay, SK elections to October 2017.

After months of waiting if the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will push through on October 31 or not, today the Congress made it final.

On Tuesday, both Houses of Congress approved on third and final reading their respective bills aiming to postpone the Barangay and EK elections to October 2017, instead of conducting it this year.

Congress of the Philippines.

Congress of the Philippines.

The members of the Lower House approved the House Bill No. 3384 by a vote of 218 – 4 while the members of the Upper House passed the Senate Bill No. 1112 with 20 affirmative votes. Only two senators voted to push through the election.

Senate Bill No. 1112 was sponsored and authored by Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, the Senate committee on local government chairman. It aims to give way to necessary reforms that will improve the institutions’ ability to serve its constituents.

The measure, was co-authored by Senators Leila de Lima, Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri. It is the Senate’s first bill to be approved for the 17th Congress since they started in the position on June 30.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the approval of the bill complemented similar moves in the House of Representatives where the bill’s authors, led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, said the postponement “will give the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ample time to prepare its personnel and resources for the elections, after having only recently concluded the conduct of the May 2016 national and local elections.”

On the other hand, the authors of House Bill No. 3384 added that it will also give the voters more time to think over their decision on who to vote among their barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan leaders.

At least 153 lawmakers have signed the House bill.

For the conduct of the elections, the Comelec appropriated a budget of billions of pesos and this may be used for next year’s polls as a continuing appropriation.

This includes the P5.9 billion for the conduct of the elections.

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