Comelec wants P3B addl budget for BSKE polls
BY WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL
The Manila Times
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) needs an additional P3 billion budget for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) scheduled on October 30 this year. Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia said the P3 billion is for the 1.2 million to 2 million expected new voters. The poll body was allotted P8.4 billion for the local elections. “We will send our request in February. I understand Congress is adjourning in March. We need to push our supplemental budget,” Garcia said. He added that the amount is way below the extra P10 billion budget that will be needed with the postponement of the BSKE from its original schedule of Dec. 5, 2022. During a budget hearing at the House of Representatives, Garcia informed lawmakers that if the BSKE is postponed to December 2023, the commission will need P18.4 billion for the electoral exercise. Republic Act 11935, signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on October 10, postponed the BSKE from Dec. 5, 2022 to the last Monday of October 2023. Garcia said that the Comelec plans to spend part of the P3 billion supplemental budget to augment the honoraria of election workers. He added that the elections will be done manually and will require a longer work period compared to automated elections. “If Congress would be kind enough to give us discretion. We would provide an additional P2,000 for electoral board members. That is already acceptable to them,” Garcia said. Under Republic Act 10756 or the “Election Service Reform Act,” the following poll workers are entitled to the corresponding honoraria: chairman of the Electoral Boards, P6,000; members of Electoral Boards, P5,000; and Department of Education supervisor official, P4,000, and support staff, P2,000. They are also entitled to a travel allowance of P1,000 each.