MANILA, Philippines – The Marcos administration is proposing a P4.987 billion budget for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in 2023, some P500 million of which will go to the construction of a new building on the poll body’s lot along Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City.
Based on the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) prepared by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and released on August 22, these figures are lower than what the Comelec originally sought: a total budget of P9.807 billion for next year, including P2.139 billion to jumpstart the building complex project.
Comelec Chairman George Garcia, upon his reappointment to the election body in early August, reignited calls for funding the long-proposed building project, which was one of the goals of the late former poll chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. when he assumed office in the commission in 2011.
Garcia’s renewed plea came after a fire hit a part of the information technology (IT) department office in Palacio del Gobernador, where the Comelec has been leasing spaces from the Office of the President (OP).
The poll chief previously disclosed that his agency would need around P8 billion to erect the building, but would accept funding in tranches to kickstart the project.
In a Rappler Talk interview on Tuesday, August 30, Garcia said the next task is to make sure the budget for the proposed building will hurdle Congress.
“We have to convince Congress not to remove the P500 million and, at the same time, maybe they can increase the budget,” he said.
“[Maybe we can request] an initial budget of P2 billion for the building,” Garcia added. “We can do a lot of things there, including the foundation, since we no longer have a problem with the drawing and sketch, we already have a model.”
Below is the table containing the proposed budget for the poll body in 2023:
The proposed 2023 budget for the Comelec is understandably lower than the P26.697 billion approved by Congress for the current year, when a national election was held last May.
Congress will still deliberate on the executive branch’s proposed total budget of P5.268 trillion for 2023. – Rappler.com