^

Headlines

Comelec: P18 billion needed if barangay, SK polls reset

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Comelec: P18 billion needed if barangay, SK polls reset
During the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation organizational meeting presided over by its chair, Sen. Imee Marcos, Garcia said the additional budget would cover other expenses including longer voters’ registration, additional polling precincts, additional honoraria for election workers and election materials.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections will need not just an additional P5 billion but P18 billion if Congress approves the postponement of the December 2022 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to next year, Comelec Chairman George Garcia told senators yesterday.

During the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation organizational meeting presided over by its chair, Sen. Imee Marcos, Garcia said the additional budget would cover other expenses including longer voters’ registration, additional polling precincts, additional honoraria for election workers and election materials.

Marcos said while many members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are in favor of the postponement of the elections, they are shocked by the huge increase in the budget necessary to cover the democratic process.

“We all agree, after all, we are used to postponing barangay and SK elections but even though others want to postpone it to December 2023, I am shocked by the additional budget that is more than double. From P8.5 billion to P18.5 billion as the chairman (Garcia) says because of additional precincts, additional voters, election workers, ink and other supplies,” Marcos said in Filipino during the meeting.

Marcos said that based on her computation, the poll body would only need about 15 percent additional budget.

“Why is it so big? It ballooned to more than 200 percent,” she said.

Marcos and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada asked Garcia if he reported the P18.5 billion to the House of Representatives earlier last week.

Garcia explained that he reported only P5 billion, as he did not factor in the increase in the honoraria of electoral board members.

“We would like to increase the honoraria being received by our electoral board members. The P5 billion would only be for May 2023 and it would double for December 2023. They (House of Representatives members) asked if the elections are postponed to 2023, it would further double. Really, it would entail a lot of costs,” Garcia further noted.

In his presentation, Garcia said if the barangay and SK elections will be held in May 2023, there will be 230,415 clustered precincts and would need P17,093,550,472.88 or a deficit of P9,510,204,330.14 from its original budget of P8.44 billion for the Dec. 5, 2022 elections.

Garcia said if the barangay and SK elections are reset to December 2023, there will be 239,000 polling precincts and the Comelec will need P18,441,376,474.30 or a deficit of P10,858,030,331.56 from the present budget of P8.44 billion.

He said that a small portion of the P8.44 billion has been disbursed and obligated in preparation for the Dec. 5, 2022 barangay and SK elections, as he assured the senators that the Comelec is prepared to hold the elections this year.

Marcos instructed Garcia and the Comelec to submit detailed information on the computation of the budget.

Estrada again asked Garcia whether the Comelec prefers to hold the election this year as “it would entail less expenses for the government. Did you inform the House panel and what did they say?”

“We informed the House panel, they said the purpose of the postponement is to save funds,” Garcia replied

“So, do you think otherwise?” Estrada further pursued and the Comelec chair replied “yes.”

“In my opinion, we can save P8 billion and use it to fight the pandemic, but it’s the other way around when the election is reset,” Estrada said.

“We emphasize – it’s in my opening statement – that instead of saving we will spend more (if the barangay and SK elections are postponed),” Garcia said.

COMELEC

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with