Multi-day election 'not easy' to fund due to 2022 budget cut: Comelec

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2021 11:56 PM

Teachers prepare for the national election at President Corazon Aquino Elementary School, Quezon City's largest polling center on May 9, 2016. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/file 
Teachers prepare for the national election at President Corazon Aquino Elementary School, Quezon City's largest polling center on May 9, 2016. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/file 

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said proposals to hold a "multi-day" voting in 2022 would not be easy to fund given the "64 percent slash" in their proposed budget next year. 

Earlier in the day, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. floated the idea of a multi-day election similar to what other countries did to "prevent the possible conglomerations of thousands of people in the precincts." 

But according to Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, the poll body "might not be able to afford that very easily."

Watch more on iWantTFC

"Recently the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) slashed our budget by 64 percent, so one very obvious complication of a multi-day election is you're gonna have to pay teachers several days additional... We're talking about at least 300,000 teachers here," Jimenez told TeleRadyo. 

Comelec sought nearly P42 billion budget for for election year, but under the spending plan submitted by DBM for Congress' approval, only P26 billion was appropriated for the poll body.

According to Jimenez, doubling the honoraria of the teachers alone might cost the Comelec all its available funds. 

"Apart from the fact that we have to pay teachers honoraria, under the law we have to give them an increase. Tapos may hinihingi pa ang DepEd (Department of Education) na hazard pay, food allowance, transportation allowance... Baka makain na lahat ng perang available," he said. 

Under DepEd's proposed pay hike for poll workers, chairpersons of electoral boards will be paid P9,000 from P6,000, while board members will get P8,000 from P5,000. 

The honoraria for Department of Education Supervisor Official (DESO) and the support staff will also be raised to P7,000 and P5,000, respectively.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas last week said getting the budget they asked for is crucial to carry out the 2022 elections safely in light of the pandemic. 

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo also urged House lawmakers to "lobby" for the increase of their 2022 budget.