Comelec going ahead with ballot printing

The Commission on Elections on Sunday said it is set to begin today the printing of ballots for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.

Despite having a pending bill seeking to postpone the polls, Comelec chairperson George Garcia said the printing of ballots will go on until 20 October.

“For the other election materials, we are gradually giving the award to suppliers, and we will pay for the supplies upon delivery,” Garcia said.

Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said on Friday that if the polls are postponed, supplies for the 2022 BSKE will be stored and used when the polls finally go ahead.

Garcia has repeatedly said that if the BSKE is delayed again, the Comelec will require a larger budget as its proposed 2023 budget did not include funding for the additional expenses resulting from the postponement.

He estimated that the Comelec would require P10 billion more if the BSKE is moved to May 2023, or P17 billion if it is moved to December 2023.

The poll chief said that the bulk of Comelec expenses for the 2022 BSKE is allotted for the training of the teachers, roughly amounting to P300 million.

“One of the biggest or bulk of the cost is the very training of teachers. We estimate that it will take P300 million to be spent all over the Philippines, so we are not doing it first,” Garcia said.

“It’s not that we don’t want to train our teachers, it’s just that we have to spend again for their training next year if the election is postponed. The initial money we spent to train them will be wasted,” he added.

Also, he said that the training of poll workers and the electoral board should be held by the second or third week of November this year.

He expects Congress to immediately make known a decision on the postponement proposal. On Wednesday, the Senate introduced a bill to move the BSKE to the second Monday of December 2023.

The House of Representatives, on the other hand, approved a counterpart measure on second reading on Tuesday, also seeking a one-year postponement of the BSKE.

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