DILG to educate voters on 'right' qualities of village leaders

THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Eastern Visayas will launch a voter education campaign this month in time for the barangay election on May 14.

The education drive, which will kick off this March, aims to inform voters about the “right” qualities and job of a village official to attain more progressive communities, DILG Eastern Visayas Director Marivel Sacendoncillo said.

The campaign, dubbed "Matino, Mahusay, at Maaasahang" barangay and SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) officials, will encourage the public to choose leaders who possess these three minimum qualities.

These traits are important to carry out meaningful peace and development initiatives in the communities, said Sacendoncillo.

“In community assemblies, we will not just teach them how to vote, but explain to them the duties of village officials on sanitation, health and nutrition, drainage system, peace and order, anti-drug campaign, and other responsibilities,” Sacendocillo said.

The official expressed optimism that the campaign would help people realize the need to choose the right leaders and not just pick any candidate based on popularity and money.

“Those who are interested to run and not qualified might change their minds if they realize the weight of duty. There are many competent and more educated people in the community, but hesitant to run because in barangay (village) elections, they have no money,” Sacendoncillo added.

She noted that vote buying is becoming more rampant, even in villages, because people don’t realize the big role of local officials in spurring rural development.

“From the central government, the three branches of the government – executive, legislative, and judiciary – are separate. In the barangays, the three powers are rolled into one person, the barangay chairman,” she said.

The DILG will also post education materials in strategic places with a checklist of traits that they should look for in choosing their would-be local candidates.

Sacendoncillo said this is the first time the central government is bringing the voter’s education campaign to a higher level in a bid to persuade the public to vote wisely. (PNA)