NYC: Confusion over anti-political dynasty law possible reason for low SK turnout

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — With the low turnout of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) candidates filing for the May 14 polls, the National Youth Commission (NYC) said the law banning political dynasties could be a factor.

NYC Assistant Secretary Rhea Peñaflor in a press briefing on Saturday said only 272,047 candidates have filed their COCs, for the 335,584 SK seats nationwide, discounting Marawi City.

Because of this, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) extended the deadline for the filing of COCs until Saturday.

"Hindi naiintindihan o confused sila sa anti-political dynasty provision," she said. "Nasa anti-political dynasty provision ng batas na hanggang second degree of consanguinity lang pero 'yung iba naman third degree o fourth degree na, pwede na, at 'yung incumbent. 'Yung iba naman hindi na incumbent, pwede na rin."

The SK and barangay polls on May 14 will be the first time Republic Act 10742 or the SK Reform Act of 2015 will be tested.

Under Section 10, an SK must not be related "within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected."

Second-degree relatives include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, parents-in-law, daughters-in-law, and sons-in-law.

Peñaflor also said existing work and school activity could be among the reasons for the youth's refusal to join the May 14 race.

She, however, said they expect more filings before the deadline ends.

Comelec Acting Chair Al Parreño, meantime, oversaw the simulation of the May polls Saturday, to test the readiness of poll officers and voters.

He said because the elections will be held manually and there will be two ballots — one for the barangay and one for the SK posts — some might end up confused.

"Ang gusto po natin malaman kung gaano po kadali o gaano kahirap ang paggamit ng dalawang balota, lalo na sa mga bata na 15 to 18, 18 to 30, dalawang balota. Medyo mahirap po 'yun," he explained.

[Translation: What we want to find out is how difficult it would be for those aged 15 to 30 to use two ballots. It won't be easy.]

Parreño said Comelec commissioners will be going around the country in the coming days to check how prepared the provinces are.