Bigger budget, banned bets: Postponed BSKE has domino effect

David Dizon, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2022 08:59 AM | Updated as of Oct 13 2022 03:41 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) — Continuing voter registration, a bigger budget and a redesign of the ballot template: these are just some of the effects of the new law postponing the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to 2023.

Lawyer George Garcia, Commission on Elections chairman, said the poll body might need to stop the printing of ballots for at least a week to reflect the new date of the elections. 

The new ballots will bear the new election date of October 2023 instead of Dec. 5, 2022. A total of 5-6 million ballots have already been printed ahead of the December polls. 

Comelec is also set to issue a resolution stating that printed ballots bearing the December 2022 date can still be used in next year's manual elections. 

Another effect of the postponed elections is an expected uptick in the number of registered voters. 

Garcia said Comelec would resume registration of voters from November 2022 to May 2023, with the additional registrants to be included in the final count of total ballots that need to be printed. 

At least 5 million new registrants may be added to the voters' list, he said. 

Local poll offices will be instructed not to print the list of voters for now due to the continuing registration. 

The Comelec chief said the filing of certificates of candidacy on Oct. 23-29, 2022 would not push through due to the polls postponement. The Comelec gun ban and campaign period are also expected to be deferred. 

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Garcia rejected proposals to realign the Comelec budget for the polls, saying the measure signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. mentioned continuing appropriation. He said Comelec would need a bigger budget for next year's election due to the larger number of voters. 

"We said that if the election will be postponed by May, we said that we'll be needing P17 billion. If the election will be postponed by December of next year, [the additional budget will be] by P18 billion," he told ANC.

"It was postponed by October. So, maybe we'll be needing about P17.5 billion and therefore P17.5 [billion] minus what is remaining with the commission."

"If we have right now P7.5 [billion], then we'll be needing additional P10 billion more," he added.

Garcia said this would be used for additional election paraphernalia, printing of ballots, registration of more youth and regular voters, and additional honoraria for electoral board members.

Comelec will also propose to Congress that the honoraria for teachers serving as poll workers in next year's manual elections should be tax-exempt, he said.

"We have to properly compensate their efforts naman po," Garcia added.

The postponement of the BSKE could also spell bad news for some Sangguniang Kabataan hopefuls: Candidates who are 25 years old by next year's SK polls will not be allowed to run. 

"Kung sila ay 24 ngayong Disyembre pero 25 na sa susunod na taon o 24 ngayon pero 25 lampas ng isang araw sa mismong araw ng eleksyon sa Oktubre 2023, hindi na po sila pupwedeng tumakbo. Dapat eksaktong 24 na edad niya sa mismong araw ng halalan sa susunod na taon," Garcia said. 

Republic Act No. 11935, signed Oct. 10, postpones the 2022 BSKE to the last Monday of October 2023.

The elections for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan will be held every 3 years thereafter.

The law said the term of office of elected barangay and SK officials shall start noon on Nov. 30 after their election.