Comelec prefers May 2023 village polls




The Manila Times


THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) prefers that the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) scheduled for December 5 be moved to May instead of December next year. Both chambers of congress are moving closer to ratifying the proposed law to postpone the elections. “If we are to choose between the two dates, we would prefer that it be held in may 2023. but in the final analysis, congress still has the final say,” comelec chairman George erwin garcia told reporters on thursday. Garcia said holding the polls in may is better because it is summer and school is on a break, making it easier for the comelec to deliver the election paraphernalia and allowing more people, particularly the youth, to vote. It also usually rains in december and it is a holiday season, so chances are people would rather go shopping than vote, he said. Garcia indicated comelec’s preference after the house of representatives overwhelmingly approved on third and final reading early this week house bill 4637, which seeks to postpone the bske from dec. 5, 2022, to dec. 4, 2023. In the senate version or senate bill 1306, the elections will also be moved to dec. 4, 2023. the measure was passed on second reading by the senate committee on local government, finance and electoral reforms, which Sen. Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos heads. Whatever the outcome of the proposal to postpone the synchronized barangay and youth polls to next year, the comelec will proceed with its preparations for a december 5 elections, garcia said, adding that the ballots and all other election paraphernalia can still be used in the next elections. The 2023 National Expenditure Program provided no funding for the synchronized polls, but garcia said there would be continuing appropriations, meaning that whatever Is left over from its present p8.4 billion budget will automatically become part of the budget if the polls are reset. Garcia said that if the elections are in may 2023, the comelec needs p17,093,550,472.88 or an additional of p9,510,204,330.14 to its estimated balance of p7,583,346,142,74 as of Septem-ber 30. If postponed to december 2023, it will need P18,441,376,474.30 or an additional P10,858,030,331.56l.