MANILA (UPDATE) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is nearly finished in preparing for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) scheduled later this year despite questions on whether or not it would push through, its chairman said on Thursday.
A House panel last month approved a substitute bill for the deferment of the synchronized local elections until next year instead of holding it this December.
Comelec Chairman George Garcia said their preparations are already at "80 percent" and they are set to release the guidelines and resolutions on the 2022 BSKE soon. The commission will also start the printing of ballots later in the day.
"Sa kasalukuyan... all out na tayo sa preparasyon, as if hindi natin iniisip ang mga posibilidad na maaaring ma-postpone ang ating mga barangay at SK elections," Garcia said in a televised briefing.
(Right now, the Comelec is all out for the preparations on the barangay and SK elections. We are not thinking of the possibility that this would be postponed.)
If the elections will be postponed, the procured election paraphernalia and awarded contracts for its delivery will still be used on the new date.
"Hindi naman masasayang 'yan, mula sa ballpen, sa ballot boxes, at sa indelible ink, ibang kagamitan. Kahit makapag-print tayo ng balota ay walang effect 'yan. Ang balotang na-print natin ay puwedeng gamitin sa susunod na eleksyon sakaling ma-reset... ang elections," Garcia said.
(These procured paraphernalia will not be wasted -- from the ballpen, ballot boxes, indelible ink and other materials. The printed ballots will also not be affected because it can still be used during the elections.)
The proposed law postponing the barangay and SK elections consolidated over 30 measures in the House of Representatives.
Under the bill, barangay and SK officials who will be elected next year will begin their 3-year term of office on Jan. 1, 2024.
A lawmaker said postponing the elections would give time for more voters to register, and would allow the government to apply corrective measures on the honoraria of poll workers, which are still subject to taxes.
Garcia had said they would need an additional P5 billion if this year's BSKE are postponed to next year.
The Comelec has some P8.5 billion in funds for the 2022 BSKE.
SCHEDULE FOR POLLS RELEASED
On Thursday, the poll body released some important dates for the conduct of the barangay and SK elections.
These are the following:
- October 6 to 13 (except October 9) - filing of certificates of candidacy (COC)
- October 6 to December 12 - implementation of gun ban, election period
- November 25 to December 3 - campaign period
- December 5 - election day
- January 4, 2023 - last day of all candidates to file the statement of contribution and expenditures (SOCE) in line with the Omnibus Election Code
The Comelec said polling precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 5.
— with reports from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News