Comelec says no waste of money to reset brgy polls to 2018
MANILA, Philippines – Now that both chambers of Congress have passed the bill postponing barangay elections, the Commission on Elections said it would now reuse the printed ballots for next year’s polls so as not to waste money.
The barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections were originally set on October 23, 2017. Congress, however, only finalized the postponement to May 2018 just a month before the original schedule, after the Senate approved the measure on final reading on Wednesday, September 20.
Comelec chair Andres Bautista said they have already spent P600 million for the printing of the ballots and other preparation activities as of Wednesday, with 26 million ballots for barangay elections and 1.6 million for SK elections already finished. (READ: Are we postponing barangay and SK elections or not? P500M is at stake)
But Bautista claimed the expenses would not be put to waste, as they would reuse the ballots for next year.
“Tapos makikita nyo yung gastos dahil sa overtime din, dahil sa empleyado, personnel, mobilization expenses. Pero di naman lahat ng gastos na yan masasayang. Pinag-aaralan na namin ngayon kung papaano magagamit ang mga balotang naimpreneta para sa susunod na halalan,” Bautista told reporters on Thursday, September 21, ahead of the Senate hearing on the proposed 2018 budget of the Comelec. (You will also see that the expenses also covers overtime because of employees, personnel, and mobilization expenses. But not all expenses would be put to waste. We are now studying how we can use the printed ballots for the next elections.)
The Comelec is considering two options – either to reuse the ballots dated October 23, 2017 for the May 14, 2018 elections or to use stickers to cover the old dates in the ballots.
“The other alternative is lagyan ng sticker, parang snowfake. Kaya lang syempre meron na naman karagdaganag gastos yan. So titimbangin natin yan pagdating ng araw kung anong mas magandang option,” Bautista said. (The other alternative is to put stickers, like snowfakes. But of course, that will incur additional expenses. So in the future, we will weigh what is the better option.)
Baustista said there is no issue with that because barangay polls are held manually unlike national and local elections. This means the ballots do not contain the names of candidates.
“Reusable naman. Ang ano lang talaga ay ung petsa. Pagka-automated, nakasulat ang mga pangalang ng kandidato sa balota mismo. Ang ginagawa ng botante ay shineshade. Sa ating barangay and SK elections, manual so simple lang ang balota. Meron siyang mga puwang parang student council elections. Ang dapat gawin ng botante ay isulat ang pangalan ng iboboto nila,” Bautista said.
(It's reusable. The issue is just the dates. In automated polls, the names of the candidates are written in the ballots. The voters shade the names. In our barangay and SK elections, it's manual so the ballots are just simple. There are spaces like in student council elections. What the voter must do is to write the names of the candidates they want.)
The House is keen on adopting the Senate version of the bill to speed up the process.
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said if this pushes through, there is no need to convene a bicameral conference committee to thresh out differences. He said the bill would then be up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature by Tuesday.
Duterte earlier pushed for the postponement of elections, saying majority of local officials are involved in illegal drug trade. He also wanted to appoint officers-in-charge of barangays.
Congress rejected this and approved the bill that would delay the barangay elections, in holdover capacity, allowing incumbent officials to stay in power until then.
Minority senators earlier slammed the planned appointment of OICs, saying it is one step away from declaring nationwide martial law. – Rappler.com