Senators eye 3-year budget cycle for Comelec over yearly allocations
MANILA, Philippines — Senators think it may be better for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to have a three-year budget cycle to match the election intervals.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Imee Marcos discussed the possibility during the Senate deliberation for the 2024 proposed budget for Comelec.
“Is a two-year or three-year budget possible? I wonder if we could consider something like that for Comelec,” Cayetano asked Marcos.
“I’m in full agreement with Senator Cayetano that, in fact, a three-year budget cycle would be more appropriate for the Comelec, given that we have a three-year election cycle,” Marcos responded.
Marcos heads the Senate committee on electoral reforms.
She cited the budget installments governing the construction of the Comelec building as proof of a problem with the current annual budget cycle.
She explained the poll body could not mobilize the funds because these allocations were not provided promptly and in one fell swoop.
She said the appropriations are under a ‘multi-year contracting authority’ (MYCA) issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“The problems that the one-year cycle produces are very, very evident in the construction of the Comelec building,” Marcos pointed out.
“Ginagawang MYCA. Tapos, sobrang liit yung unang release,” Marcos lamented.
(MYCA is being done. Then, the release is quite measly.)
“Hindi makapag-mobilize and so on and on. Hindi magamit ang pera. Ibabalik na ulit,” she described the predicament.
(They could not mobilize and so on and on. They could not use the money. It will be returned to the coffers.)
Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said DBM issued the MYCA for the Comelec building last March 29.
For 2023, DBM had allocated more than P1.2 billion for the structure.
For 2024, P3.7 billion has been proposed for the project.
Another P3.4 billion will be proposed in 2025 to finish the building.
The construction site for the new office complex of Comelec is in Pasay City.
Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia had proposed an original total budget of P43.7 billion for the poll body.
However, DBM cut it to P27.2 billion under the National Expenditure Program submitted to Congress.