Lagman bucks barangay, SK polls postponement

By Mark A. Gomez

“Our Country needs no overstaying village officials and overaged youth officials, election is a must.”

Reelected Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said this in reaction to the proposal floating in the House of Representatives to postpone the village and youth election this coming December, 2022.

Presumptive House Speaker Martin Romualdez, in a press statement issued May 19, 2022, said that Congress is planning to move the village and youth election scheduled in December 2022 to May, 2024, in order to save funds for the economic stimulus program of the upcoming Marcos administration.

Lagman, in an interview on May 23, said that the upcoming Marcos administration could not rely on the P8.4-billion fund allotted for the barangay and SK elections considering that it was already released to Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“I am informed that this has also been released to the Comelec. We have to check with Comelec how much has been spent so far in the preparation of the village and youth election,” Lagman said.

According to the Albay solon, the democratic process in the village and youth elections should not be compromised. There is also a need to give a new mandate to overstaying barangay officials and overaged youth leaders, Lagman added.

Lagman said that the fund of P8.4 billion for the village and youth elections and the remaining budget of 10 percent of the poll body this year will definitely not give any relief for the economic stimulus program of the Marcos Administration.

Instead, Lagman proposed that the national government should dispose some of its assets in order to generate funds for the economic stimulus program.

He said that big military camps in Metro Manila should also be sold and the proceeds of the sale worth billions of pesos could be used for this economic program. Idle lands of state colleges and universities can also be disposed for the same purpose.

Lagman said that if lenders would be willing to provide loans to the new administration, the latter could apply for foreign grants and loans.

One of the remedies to generate more funds is by strictly implementing tax laws, however, the Marcos administration will have difficulty running after tax evaders due to serious concern on unpaid real estate tax issue haunting President-elect Bong Bong Marcos, Lagman added.

He vowed to continue his role as a member of the minority in the House of Representatives for the good of the country.