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Congress prodded to decide on polls

Poll chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.  on Tuesday said he would meet with  Congress  leaders this week to discuss the resetting of the Sangguniang  Kabataan elections slated on October 28. Emerging from the hearing of the Comelec’s P3.8 billion budget proposal for 2014, Brillantes said  that the commission will prepare just in case the polls forge ahead. He said the printing of the ballots will begin today. “It (SK elections) can be postponed. It’s OK with me. Let’s see whether barangays can run without the SKs,” said Brillantes. Congress should come out with a  decision  in the next days, “so we know whether to stop with SK preparations,” Brillantes said. He  was scheduled to discuss the issue within the week  with Senate President Franklin Drilon and  Speaker  Feliciano Belmonte. Congress has until the end  of the month or first week of October to  come  up with a decision. The Comelec chief also said the agency needs P3.4 billion budget for the synchronized SK and barangay elections, but the government has allocated only P1.1 billion to bankroll the electoral process. Senator  Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chair of the local government committee said the body has reached a consensus to postpone the SK poll to reform the system after the budget hearing attended by officials from the poll body, DILG and local government officials. But Marcos said  his committee  has yet to secure the signatures of its  members  before  the  report could be  presented to the  plenary   next week. He said the national government and other concerned agencies were amenable to defer the SK elections.  He said he intended to take this issue to the senate floor until Wednesday afternoon. The senator said he plans to include a provision in the resolution postponing the SK polls to require the Comelec to hold elections for the youth council by October next year. He noted that  incumbent SK officials will be allowed to retain their posts until the next elections, once Congress approves the postponement. Senator Bam Aquino supported Marcos’s stand to postpone the SK elections and initiate reforms in the system.
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