MANILA— The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Tuesday it would begin the preparations for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in June, amid reports that that the incoming administration is keen to postpone the conduct of the polls.
Comelec Commissioner George Garcia the polls for barangay and SK will push through in December.
“Ito pong June na ito, magsisimula na po kaming maghanda para sa Barangay Elections, although sinasabi nilang maaaring ma-postpone o ma-reset na naman ang Barangay [Elections]. Hindi po namin iyon kinu-consider sapagkat hanggang sa kasalukuyan, dapat may Barangay Elections ngayong Disyembre,” said Garcia in a public briefing.
(We will prepare for the barangay elections this June even if some people said it will be postponed. We are not considering that because there must be a barangay election this December.)
Garcia noted that the Comelec would resume the registration of voters this July in preparation for the Barangay and SK polls.
“Siyempre po magkakaroon muli kami ng registration of voters, magsisimula po ito ngayong Hulyo at syempre magsisimula na rin po kaming maghanap ng mga ibang gagamitin natin sa halalan lalung-lalo na ng mga pagpi-print ng balota dahil tatandaan po natin na kapag Barangay Elections, hindi po tayo computerized kung hindi manual po ang pagku-conduct natin ng halalan,” he said.
(We will have a fresh voters registration this July and we will start looking for what must be used this upcoming elections. This includes the printing of ballots because the barangay elections is not computerized, it is manually conducted.)
The poll official however said that the Comelec is ready to comply should the Congress decide to suspend this year’s polls, which could potentially save the government some P8.6 billion.
“Napakalaki ring katipiran sa ating bansa, na kung saka-sakaling hindi matuloy ang halalan ay P8.6 billion po ang nakalaan na budget para diyan sa Barangay and SK elections," he said.
(We will save a lot if the barangay elections will not push through. We can save an estimated P8.6 billion since that is the budget allotted for that.)
"Isipin ninyo po iyong matitipid natin kung sakaling walang election. Pero siyempre part po iyan ng ating demokrasya at ang Kongreso ang may desisyon kung itutuloy o hindi ang ating halalan na iyan.”
(Just think how much we can save if we do not have that election. But of course that is part of our democracy and Congress has the decision whether to postpone or not that election.)
Meanwhile, Garcia belied reports that the Comelec has already spent the funds meant for the Barangay and SK elections.
"Wala pa po kaming kinukuha kahit singkong duling diyan po sa atin pong [Department of Budget and Management] patungkol sa paghahanda sa barangay elections,” Garcia said.
(We did not get any funds from the DBM regarding the preparations for the barangay elections.)
“Pasensiya na po pero hindi po kasi ganoon ang procedure ng pagdi-disburse ng pera dito sa atin pong pamahalaan lalo na po at ito ay pondo ng ating mga mamamayang Pilipino."
(We apologize but the disbursement procedure is not like that if we will come from the government. This is the money of the Filipino people.)
Philippines conducted its national elections on May 9, which Garcia described as the "cleanest in history," with the lowest incidents of violence recorded.