Barangay and SK Elections: All You Need to Know

In just a few months, around 92 million voters are set to vote in the upcoming Philippine elections. After much delay, the next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections will finally be held on October 30, 2023.

In this article, we will talk all about the Barangay and SK Elections in the Philippines. This includes an overview of the positions, qualifications, roles, and the election process itself. If you are going to vote for the first time, or if you simply want to learn more about this event… you’ve come to the right place!

Barangay and SK Elections
Image Credit: COMELEC / Facebook (BSKE 2023 logo)

Guide to Philippine Barangay and SK Elections

The Barangay and SK Elections is an important part of the Philippine local government system. During this period, Filipino citizens who are 18 years old and above practice their right to vote for their community leaders. After all, the barangay is considered as the smallest body of government in the country.

To better understand this event, let us first discuss what a Sangguniang Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan is — its leaders, members, and specific roles in the barangay. We will also learn about the criteria or qualifications involved in selecting these local government positions.

What is the Sangguniang Barangay?

The Sangguniang Barangay (SB) is the legislative body of a barangay, based on the Tagalog terms “sanggunian” (council) and “barangay.” Hence, it is also called “Barangay Council.” Prior to this, the body was previously known as the Rural Council, and later on as the Barrio Council.

The Sangguniang Barangay (or Barangay Council) is headed by the Punong Barangay (or Barangay Captain), who leads seven (7) members who are called Barangay Kagawads (or Barangay Councilors). In addition, the Chairperson of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) is considered as part of the Barangay Council, as an eight member.

Basically, the Barangay Captain serves as the chief executive officer of the barangay. He/She shall appoint a secretary and a treasurer, with the concurrence of the entire council. As a unit, the functions of the Barangay Council are as follows:

  • Implementation of policies and programs in the barangay;
  • Passing ordinances and resolutions for effective administration;
  • Promoting participation among barangay constituents;
  • Resolving conflicts or disputes among constituents; and
  • Other functions as stated in the Philippine Local Government Code.

What is the Sangguniang Kabataan?

As the term implies, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) is a council that is formed to represent the youth from each barangay in the Philippines.

The Sangguniang Kabataan is headed by the SK Chairperson, who leads seven (7) members — SK Kagawads or SK Councilors, a secretary, and a treasurer. As mentioned earlier, the SK Chairperson is considered as an eight member of the Barangay Council. Moreover, he/she automatically becomes Chairperson of the Committee on Youth and Sports, which is one of the Barangay Council’s standing committees.

Notably, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections provides an opportunity for young Filipinos to hone their leadership skills as well as to contribute to the development of their respective barangays. Among their major roles and functions are as follows:

  • Implementation of youth-oriented programs, projects, and policies;
  • Organization of youth activities and promoting youth participation; and
  • Engaging with local youth organizations in the community.

Qualifications of Barangay and SK Candidates

As voters, electing the best candidates is our main goal. And so, we should be familiar with the criteria or qualifications required for Sangguniang Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan positions.

Barangay Captain and Barangay Kawagads/Councilors

Each candidate for the position of Barangay Captain and Barangay Kagawad/Councilor must be:

  • A citizen of the Philippines;
  • A registered voter of the barangay;
  • At least 18 years old on the day of elections;
  • Able to read and write in Filipino or any local language or dialect; and
  • A resident of the barangay for at least one (1) year preceding the day of elections.

SK Chairperson and SK Kagawads/Councilors

Meanwhile, each candidate for the position of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Chairperson and SK Kagawad/Councilor must be:

  • A citizen of the Philippines;
  • A qualified voter of the Katipunan ng Kabataan;
  • At least 18 but not more than 24 years old on election day;
  • Able to read and write in Filipino, English or the local dialect;
  • A resident of the barangay for at least one (1) year preceding the day of elections;
  • Must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude; and
  • Must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official, or to any incumbent barangay, municipal, city, provincial, or regional official in the locality where he/she seeks to be elected.

Barangay and SK Elections: Schedule of Activities

As cited earlier, the next Barangay and SK Elections will be held on October 30, 2023. Originally, it was set to be held in May 2020; the following year, in December 2019, a law was passed, postponing the elections to December 2022.

Eventually, another law was passed in October 2022, this time postponing the Barangay and SK Elections to October 2023. This law was declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court; nevertheless, the election will still be held on October 2023 due to practicality and necessity.

In October, the elections will be held in 42,027 barangays across the Philippines. After the elections, winners shall serve for two (2) years only — until 2025, during which a new election will be held, and every three (3) years thereafter.

At this point, let us take a look at the schedule of activities involved in Barangay and SK Elections. We have included the specific dates for the upcoming 2023 elections; nonetheless, the following activities shall also apply to future elections.

Filing of Certificate of Candidacy

This refers to the period during which aspiring candidates may file for a Certificate of Candidacy. In the coming elections, the schedule for filing of Certificate of Candidacy is from August 28, 2023 to September 2, 2023.

Campaign Period

For every election, there is a specific period for campaigning. In the coming elections, the official Campaign Period is from October 19 to 28, 2023.

During this period, candidates can promote themselves and their platforms to barangay residents. However, some activities are prohibited, such as:

  • Making any donation or gift, in cash or in kind;
  • Posting, displaying, distributing, and using illegal campaign materials; and
  • Appointing or using special policemen, special/confidential agents or the like.

Campaigning is Prohibited

Since there is an official Campaign Period, there are also periods when campaigning is prohibited. In the coming elections, candidates are not allowed to campaign from September 3 to October 18, 2023, and also from October 29 to 30, 2023. Take note that these last two days refer to the “eve” of elections, as well as the election day itself.

Gun Ban Period

In the weeks before and after election day, there is a Gun Ban Period. During this time, carrying of firearms is not allowed, unless you are authorized by the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC).

Unless a person is authorized by the CBFSC, the following acts are prohibited during this period:

  • To bear, carry, or transport firearms and other deadly weapons outside residence or place of business, and in all public places;
  • To employ, avail, or engage the services of security personnel and bodyguards; and
  • To transport or deliver firearms and explosives, including its parts, ammunition, and/or components.

In the coming elections, the Gun Ban Period shall be from August 28, 2023 to November 29, 2023.

Liquor Ban

On the eve of election day, and on the election day itself, there shall be a Liquor Ban. During this period, the selling, furnishing, offering, buying, serving, and taking of intoxicating liquor — are not allowed. In the coming elections, the Liquor Ban shall be imposed from October 29 to 30, 2023.

Aside from the liquor ban, the following acts are also prohibited during this period: (a) campaigning; and (b) giving, accepting free transportation, food, drinks, and things of value.

Election Day

On Election Day, the voting hours in all precincts shall be from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. Immediately after the closing of polls, votes will be counted and canvassed, and the winning candidates shall be proclaimed.

In the coming elections, Election Day falls on October 30, 2023.

Last Day to File SOCE

Philippine law states that all candidates — both winners and losers — should file their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) 30 days after election day. The SOCE indicates all election-related contributions and expenses.

After the upcoming elections, the last day to file SOCE falls on November 29, 2023.

Video: BSKE 2023 Elections Calendar of Activities

Check out this video featuring the calendar of activities for the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on October 30, 2023. This video is shared by the Facebook page of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC):

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some additional questions and and answers regarding the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections:

1. How many times do I need to register as a voter?

You only need to register as a voter once. However, if you changed residence in between elections, you need to apply for transfer of registration, so that you can vote in your new place of residence.

2. What if my voting record has been deactivated?

If your voting record has been deactivated, you need to apply for reactivation so that you can vote in future elections.

3. Can I run for SK if I am older than 24 years of age?

No. The law states that aspiring Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) candidates must be at least 18, but not more than 24 years old on election day.

4. Can I run for SK if I am related to an incumbent elected official?

No. The law states that aspiring SK candidates must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected official, be it in the local, municipal, provincial, regional, or national level.

5. Who are considered as relatives up to second degree of consanguinity or affinity?

Spouse, parents, and children are considered as first degree relatives in terms of consanguinity, whereas siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren are second degree relatives of consanguinity.

Meanwhile, mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law are considered as first degree relatives of affinity. Furthermore, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and grandparents-in-law are deemed as second degree relatives of affinity.

A person is not allowed to run for a Barangay or SK position if he/she is related to an elected official who happens to be a first degree or second degree relative, in terms of consanguinity or affinity.

6. What happens after the Barangay and SK elections?

After the winners of the elections have been proclaimed, Barangay Captains shall elect their city or municipality’s “Liga ng Mga Barangay” (League of Barangays) president, also known as the “Association of Barangay Captains” (ABC) president. He/She will also sit on the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal or City Council).

Later on, all ABC presidents within a province shall elect a provincial ABC president, who will sit on the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council). Eventually, all provincial and independent city ABC presidents shall elect a National President of the League of Barangays in the Philippines.

In the same way, every barangay’s SK Chairperson shall be part of a municipal or city SK federation, and elect a president, as well. In turn, all presidents of city and municipal SK federations shall become members of the provincial SK federation. Eventually, the presidents of provincial and independent city SK federations become shall members of the national SK federation. They shall elect a National President, who will automatically sit on the National Youth Commission.

Barangay and SK Elections
Image Credit: COMELEC / Facebook

The Bottom Line

Indeed, the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections play a vital role in local governance. As the leaders in charge of a barangay, they are the ones who should be able to manage community concerns. Whenever there’s a project on health, education, sports, and more — the member of these councils are responsible for promoting, implementing, and monitoring such programs.

Similarly, whenever there’s a conflict or dispute among the constituents of a barangay, the Barangay Council shall aim for the best resolution and course of action regarding such matters.

Of course, the result of the Barangay and SK elections depends on us, the voters. Let us take the time to get to know the candidates in our respective barangays, so that we would be able to choose wisely and elect the best persons who can lead the community.

For more information about the Barangay and SK elections, please visit the official website of the Commision on Elections (COMELEC).

On the other hand, if you are not sure which voting precinct you belong to, read this article to know more about the COMELEC’s “precinct finder” for upcoming elections.