Villages asked to help finance polls

Comelec resolution says P1-B budget for barangay elections not enough

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BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has required the country’s village councils to set aside part of their annual budgets to finance the barangay elections in October.

But the Comelec’s Resolution No. 9739, which was promulgated by the Comelec en banc on July 10 and circulated early this week, did not sit well with village leaders here.

The resolution requires each village government in the country to contribute as much as P10,000 “to defray election expenses,” because the allotted amount of P1.17 billion for the polls is “insufficient.”

Councilor Joel Alangsab, former chair of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) here, said the Comelec Baguio office has requested an audience with the ABC to discuss how the resolution could be implemented.

Rocky Aliping, the new ABC chair, said most village governments may not be able to afford P10,000, now that they have started implementing community projects.

“We always thought the government had money to spare for the barangay elections. That was the assurance President Aquino made, which is why we are proceeding with the elections this year. But evidently, that is not the case,” said Aliping, chair of Barangay Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo-Lower QM, by telephone on Thursday.

“I received a copy of the resolution [on Wednesday]. Barangay officials in the city would need to meet next week to discuss this matter, but I can already predict many would react harshly to the directive. I don’t know what the national council of villages is discussing now,” he said.

Resolution No. 9739 states that the General Appropriations Act of 2013 (Republic Act 10352) set aside P1,175,098,000 for the Oct. 28 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, which it says is short of the amount needed “to ensure that the elections are honest, orderly, peaceful and credible.”

The resolution was signed by Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. and the poll body’s six commissioners.

It said local governments are required by the Omnibus Election Code to contribute funds when necessary, spending for the “reasonable expenses of the members of the board of election tellers (BET), board of canvassers and the printing of election forms.”

Comelec said the Local Government Code also prescribes that “funding for the regular elections of the SK shall be taken from the [10 percent] of the general fund of barangays, which have been reserved and set aside for the SK.”

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