Comelec: P8-B manual barangay elections still better than postponing polls again
MANILA, Philippines — The barangay and youth council, or Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), elections scheduled on Dec. 5 will cost P8.4 billion even if it will be manual, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), but that will still be more practical than postponing it again.
Comelec spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said the total budget for the barangay and SK elections is P8,441,280,000, citing a report from the finance services department.
When the 19th Congress convenes on July 25, lawmakers are expected to tackle whether to postpone the barangay and SK elections.
The last barangay and SK polls were held in May 2018.
“As far as the Comelec is concerned, it’s not practical to hold the barangay and SK polls (simultaneously) with the national and local elections” in 2025, Comelec deputy director for operations Teopisto Elnas Jr. said.
Elnas said automated elections are “very expensive,” but the Local Government Code mandated that the barangay election shall be conducted in an “inexpensive manner.”
Barangay and SK elections are conducted by manual voting.
Elnas said that if barangay and SK elections are held simultaneously with the general elections, both will be automated and the Comelec will have to print a set of ballots for each of the 42,000 barangays.
“In effect, that’s 42,000 ballot faces. In the national and local elections, we have 1,634 cities and municipalities. That’s way fewer ballot faces,” he said.
Meanwhile, Comelec expects the latest batch of new voters who signed up during the three-week registration period to exceed 2 million.
Voter registration resumed on July 4 and will end on July 23, but as of July 18, Comelec said 1,712,315 new voters had already registered.
These consisted of 1,073,847 new voters who are 15 to 17 years old; 547,389 voters who are 18 to 30 years old; and 91,079 voters who are 31 years old and older.
“We had already reached and exceeded the original target of 1 million new voters,” Laudiangco said.
“Given the latest high turnout of applicants, we believe that by July 23, we will be able to reach our secondary or recalibrated (target of) 2,067,351 new registrants for the barangay and SK,” he added.
He said the new target was based on the estimate of the Philippine Statistics Authority that of the projected population of 112,892,781 in 2023, more than 73 million of them will be of voting age, or at least 18 years old.
Before the latest round of voter registration, Comelec originally projected 66,053,357 total registered voters for the Dec. 5 barangay and SK polls.
This includes 23,059,227 youth voters aged 15 to 30 years old who are eligible to vote in the SK elections.
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