Comelec lacks funds for barangay, SK polls

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 26 2013 01:01 AM | Updated as of Jul 26 2013 09:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said it is lacking in funds for the conduct of the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

In a resolution, the poll body said it needs P3.45 billion for the synchronized elections scheduled on Oct. 28, but it was only given a P1.75-billion budget.

“An additional amount of P2,274,902,000.00, is needed to completely answer said budgetary requirements,” the Comelec said.

It said the P2.2-billion budget shall cover the expenses of the 42,028 barangays with 170,000 clustered precincts in 143 cities and 1,491 municipalities in 80 provinces.

To resolve the budgetary constraints, the Comelec has directed all local government units (LGUs) nationwide to set aside funds to help shoulder the expenses for the election.

The Comelec said each barangay should allocate at least P10,000, but not more than 10 percent of the general fund of the barangay, which has been reserved for the SK.

With the P10,000 fund from each barangay, the Comelec expects to collect some P420 million from LGUs.

In cases when funding is not available, the Comelec said the concerned LGUs shall ask for a supplemental budget from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The Comelec said it has the authority to source its funding from LGUs as provided under the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).

Under the law, local governments shall allocate funds to defray necessary and reasonable expenses of the members of the board of election tellers, board of canvassers, the printing of election forms, the procurement of other election paraphernalia, and the installation of polling booths.

It added that the needed funds shall be released by the LGUs to the local election officers and shall be open for inspection of the Commission on Audit.

Meanwhile, the Comelec expressed desire to get the assistance of celebrities in promoting voters’ registration in connection with the coming polls.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said they need celebrities to attract huge numbers of people to register and disseminate the information.

He said the poll body will try to seek the help of as many celebrities as possible for their information campaign.