‘Plebiscite in 2025 saves government P13 billion’

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
�Plebiscite in 2025 saves government P13 billion�
Comelec Commissioner George Garcia answers question from the media at the Comelec Office in Intramuros, Manila on April 27, 2022.
KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — The government can save some P13 billion if it holds the planned plebiscite on Charter change simultaneously with the May 2025 midterm elections, according to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia.

In an interview with reporters, Garcia said that just like barangay elections, a nationwide plebiscite would require some P13 billion in funding.

“But if you do them (plebiscite and midterm elections) at the same time, there will be no additional expenses, but we may have to give P2,000 more each to teachers assigned to poll duties,” Garcia said.

Having at least one million teachers serve in synchronized elections would require an additional P2-billion allocation, he pointed out.

He stressed that the Comelec’s legal department – citing results of its study – had concluded that there was no legal impediment to synchronizing the plebiscite with the mid-term elections.

Furthermore, the poll body’s legal department said a previous Supreme Court ruling did not specifically state that holding a plebiscite simultaneously with the national elections is prohibited, Garcia maintained.

He also cited the need for a massive information campaign to make people more aware of what they would be voting for, as well as the implications of their choices.

Garcia said the Comelec has also designed a sample ballot containing possible questions in a plebiscite, without incurring additional expenses.

He admitted he still prefers to hold a plebiscite separately so that voters would be better informed of issues surrounding Cha-cha.

Garcia said the poll body is already preparing for it.

Meanwhile, over 600,000 young and new voters have so far registered and expressed their intention to participate in the May 2025 national and local elections.

The Comelec said 643,987 applications for registration have been filed since the voter registration resumed last Feb. 12.

Based on Comelec data, CALABARZON posted the highest number of applicants with 115,167, followed by the National Capital Region (NCR) with 95,557.

Central Luzon ranked third with 68,676, while Central Visayas closely followed with 51,199, and Davao Region with 36,937.

Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), on the other hand, registered the lowest number of applications with 7,598, Mimaropa with 15,602, and Cagayan Valley with 19,324.

At the Comelec main office in Intramuros, a total of 694 applications for voter registration have been filed.

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