There is money for plebiscite for creation of Nueva Camarines, lawmaker insists
Camarines Sur Representative Arnulfo Fuentebella over the weekend said that officials of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had made the assurance that there were enough funds for a plebiscite this year for the creation of the province of Nueva Camarines (NuevaCam).
Fuentebella, the main proponent of House Bill No. 4820 which seeks to carve the new province out of Camarines Sur, said Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes and budget officials had made the assurance during budget deliberations on the 2012 General Appropriations Act in the House of Representatives.
He said Brillantes pointed to the P2 billion in savings from the postponement of the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao last year as a possible source of funds for the holding of a plebiscite, which could amount to P50 million, while DBM officials cited the savings of all government agencies for 2011 as another source.
“So at the time, it was agreed upon that there was no need to insert a budget (for the plebiscite) because we were assured that it could be taken from savings,” Fuentebella said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Comelec on Monday, however, declared that it had no funds to hold a plebiscite this year on the measure creating NuevaCam that was passed by a vote of 299-1, but was prioritizing the automation of the 2013 elections.
At the Senate hearing, Genevieve Velicaria-Guevarra of the Comelec, however, said the poll body had no budget for a recall election or plebiscite this year.
But Fuentebella insisted that the Comelec resolution on recall did not cover the plebiscite.
“They are just trying to confuse the issue,” he said. Cynthia D. Balana
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