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Public hearings on BSKE postponement roll out in NegOr

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, June 29 (PIA) -- On the first day of the public hearing, some sectors are divided already on the proposed postponement of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) in Negros Oriental.

A series of public consultations started on June 27 to get the public pulse on whether to postpone or not the BSKE set on Oct. 30, 2023.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc headed by Comelec Chairman George Garcia, poll commissioners Ernesto Maceda Jr., Rey Bulay, Nelson Celis, and Aimee Ferolino, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Andres Centino, and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Benjamin Acorda arrived in Dumaguete City for the coordination conference and to observe the public hearing.

Monsignor Julius Heruela, convenor of the Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB), has spoken publicly in support of the postponement to give more focus or concentration by law enforcers on the conduct of elections.

Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) President Ed Du is against the delay of the elections. 

However, Garcia, in a press briefing at Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office, Agan-an, Sibulan, said “we will listen to the people of Negros Oriental" through the public hearings and that there should always be a whole-of-government approach in the conduct of elections. 

Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Dumaguete City Council members present during the public hearing are calling to push through the BSKE as scheduled.

The Diocesan and religious clergy of the Diocese of Dumaguete represented by Msgr. Robert Bongoyan on behalf of Bishop Julito Cortes read the statement that they collectively and strongly proposed for the postponement for 30 days of the BSKE for several reasons.

For one, they cited that the socio-political and peace and order situation of Negros Oriental is still volatile.

“As Church local leaders, we exercise our moral obligation to bring the voices of the inarticulate members of our flock without taking a partisan stand or favouring any group or opinion,” stated Bongoyan, parish priest of Dumaguete Cathedral Parish Church.

In a coordinating conference with Comelec en banc, the PNP and AFP presented a “generally peaceful and manageable” situation in the province that would not call for the postponement.

Colonel Alex Recinto, acting police provincial director of Negros Oriental, said data showed a reduction in most crimes several months after the assassination of the late Gov. Roel Degamo.

However, Garcia hinted the possibility of pushing the elections in some areas while others may be covered by the deferment.

The Comelec will collate all reports from the ground and the decision will be made sometime in late August or September. (JCT/PIA7 Negros Oriental with reports from Jill Ingrid Cielo, SU Intern)

Commission on Elections Chair George Erwin Garcia (center) leads the coordinating conference with Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. (left), and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Andres Centino (3rd from right) at the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office on June 27, 2023. (PIA Negros Oriental)

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Jennifer Tilos


Region 7

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