Barangay Elections in the Philippines

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The barangay was the Filipino’s earliest form of government. It was an independent settlement consisting of thirty to one hundred families usually situated along a river bank or at the mouth of a river spilling out to the sea. The term barangay was derived from the Malay word barangay or balangay, which means sailboat.

The barangays were used to transport the early Filipinos and their cargoes to the various sections of the Philippine archipelago.Each barangay was ruled by a datu or village chief who was also known as raha or rajah who had wide powers for exercised all the functions of the government – he has the executive, the legislator, and the judge. It was the prime duty of the chief to administer his subjects and to promote their welfare and interests. The subjects served their chief during wars and voyages and helped him in the tilling and sowing of the land and in the construction of his house. They gave tributes to their chieftain called buwis, usually in the form of crops.

In matters of succession in the vent of the datu’s death, the first son usually succeeded him. If the first son died without leaving an heir, the second son succeeded as datu. In the absence of any male heir, the eldest daughter could become a chieftain. This clearly indicates that women’s rights and abilities were recognized during pre-Spanish times. If a datu died without any heir, the people of the barangay choose a man to become the new chieftain on the basis of his wisdom, wealth and physical strength.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. The 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. 524, 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. 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.

Election is defined as the means by which the people choose their officials for a definite and fixed period of time. Article 5 of the constitution of the Philippines stated that suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines, not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least 18 years of age and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election.No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. The Omnibus Election code of the Philippines states on its general provision that it shall be the obligation of every citizen qualified to vote to register and cast his vote. Also, the Republic Act No. 8189 or “Voter’s Registration Act of 1996” cites that in order to be able to vote in any election, a qualified voter shall be registered in the permanent list of voters in a precinct of the city or municipality wherein he resides.

However, persons disqualified from registering are not allowed to vote such as the following (1) those who have been sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment of not less that one (1) year. (2) any person who has been adjudged by final judgment by a competent court or tribunal of having committed any crime involving disloyalty to the duly constituted government such as rebellion, sedition, violation of the firearms laws or any crime against national security and (3)Insane or incompetent persons declared as such by competent authority.For 2000, the country’s seven national prisons, registered a total population of 23,695 inmates or 0. 05 percent of 43. 3 million voting population. Describing Elections demonstrates that voters are not simple captives of the ideology patronage.

It argues that should political analysts “unpack” the vote, one would find not only instrumental considerations but also normative and even critical considerations. These works show that Filipino voting behavior is currently evolving.However, they also reflect the fact that Filipino voting behavior can still be largely explained through the usual framework of patron-client relations, clan politics and other frameworks mentioned above. Despite the changes in voting behavior, there is still a lot to be desired. A great deal of work still should be done until the Filipino has evolved from someone who is passive and powerless to someone who is active and powerful.

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