Saturday, October 9, 2010

Barangay Elections in the Philippines


The history of Barangay Elections in the Philippines can be traced to the American Colonialization during the 1990s.

During the Spanish Colonialization in the Philippines from 1521 to 1898, each barangay were led and governed by a Cabeza de Barangay. However, the office of the Cabeza de Barangay was not elected but hereditary.

When the Americans took over the Philippines, they changed the form of government from monarchy to democracy. In this government structure, anyone can be the head of the barangay through election. Barangays were then called Barrios, and Cabezas de Barangay were called Barrio Captains or Capitan del Barrio.

During the presidency of Ferdinand E. Marcos, the term "barangay" was re-adopted, but the Spanish title "Cabeza de Barangay" is not used. Instead, they are called "Barangay Captain" in English or "Punong Barangay" in Tagalog.

When are Barangay Elections Held?

First Ever Barangay Elections

Although each barangay already having their own barangay elections, the first country-wide barangay elections ever to be held was on May 17, 1982, by virtue of the Batas Pambansa Bilang 222 or the Barangay Elections Act of 1982.

The Barangay Elections Act of 1982 was later codified in the Omnibus Election Code of 1985 or the Batas Pambansa Bilang 881.

Barangay elections are usually suspended by Congress due to cost-cutting measures.

The Ever-changing Schedule of Barangay Elections

According to the Omnibus Election Code, the barangay elections shall be held every second Monday of May 1988 and on the same day every six years thereafter.

However, the May 9, 1988 barangay election was postponed by Republic Act No. 6653. The election date was moved to the second Monday of November 1988 and the term of the officials was reduced to five years.

Further, RA 6653 was amended by Republic Act 6679, postponing the November 14, 1988 barangay elections to March 28, 1989. The officials elected during this election are to serve their terms from May 1, 1989 until May 31, 1994, roughly five years of incumbency.

The 1989 and 1994 barangay elections had been successful. The following barangay election was held on May 12, 1997, three years after the last election.

On February 14, 1998, through the Republic Act No. 8524, the term of office of barangay officials are pinned at five years.

Later, Republic Act No. 9164 provided for a synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections on July 15, 2002 and that following synchronized elections shall be held on the last Monday of October three years thereafter. This cut the term of office of barangay officials to three years.

Then, RA 9164 is amended Republic Act No. 9340, pushing the next date of the synchronized elections to the last Monday of October 2007, which should have been October 2005.

On September 17, 2007, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 2417, postponing the Barangay and SK elections, originally set October 29, to the first Monday of May 2009. But the bill was rejected by the Senate.

As of the present, barangay elections are held on the last Monday of October every three years. The next barangay elections will be held on Monday, October 28, 2013.

Officials Elected During Barangay Elections

The officials elected during barangay elections include one Punong Barangay, seven Sangguniang Barangay members, one Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman and seven Sangguniang Kabataan members.

There are eight members of the legislative council of every barangay: the seven Sangguniang Barangay members and the Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman. Each member has its own respective committee where they are Chairmen of those committees.

The Committees are the following: (1) Peace and Order Committee, (2) Appropriations, Finance and Ways and Means Committee, (3) Education Committee, (4) Health Committee, (5) Agriculture Committee, (6) Tourism Committee, (7) Infrastructure Committee, and (8) Youth and Sports Committee. The Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman is the ex-officio chairman of the Youth and Sports Committee.

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