MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday said it has no budget for the “worst-case scenario” if the COVID-19 pandemic worsens by election day in May 2022.
The Comelec sought a P41.92 billion budget for 2022 but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only allocated P26.49 billion, under the National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted to Congress.
"For now what was given to us in the NEP by the DBM is more on the usual, the ordinary pandemic situation. With regards to that extreme condition of what will happen, we have no budget for that," Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said during a House suffrage panel hearing.
Casquejo urged lawmakers to help them increase their 2022 budget.
Last Monday, Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said getting the budget they asked for is crucial for the safe conduct of 2022 elections.
"Uulitin ko: the preparations for the election should be synchronized sa budget na ibibigay ng DBM. Halimbawa kung wala silang ibibigay na additional na pondo hindi rin kami makakapagbigay ng mga hazard pay sa ating mga guro o kapulisan," Abas said.
During the House hearing, Casquejo said postponing the 2022 polls is not an option.