Comelec ready to release fund for PNP-AFP security ops on village polls
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections said Thursday it is set to release the allocated budget for the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to fund its election-related security preparation for the barangay (village) elections on October 28.
In a PNP-AFP-Comelec joint press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said roughly P100 million was already available and was just undergoing necessary paperworks before it will be released, hopefully by the end of the week.
“I would like to assure everyone that it was just a matter of doing the correct paper work. Pero yung pera andyan na, OK na. Hinihintay na lang ang release (But the money is there. We’re just waiting for the release),” Jimenez said.
But while the Comelec already has a cash on hand being prepared for release, it is roughly P400 million short of the amount the PNP and AFP had asked to fund their activities.
To a reply, Jimenez said they were already trying to work out the availability of the said additional amount being asked by AFP and PNP.
While he said that Comelec can probably give the additional amount before the elections, a reimbursement procedure will be implemented if ever the two security agencies have already spent for the conduct of their activities prior the release of the money.
“A lot of the expenses are being undertaken so we would give them what
we have now. They will spend what they have to spend and by nature of
reimbursement yan. Definitely aabot po tayo,” Jimenez said.
The PNP and AFP earlier asked that their budget be increased to P500 million. The agencies said they will use the money for food allowance of police and military men who will be deployed during the elections, as well as for other logistical requirements, such as fuel for patrol vehicles.
However, PNP and AFP officials earlier maintained that the financial issue would not keep them from doing their jobs.
“We will not be disrupted from doing our jobs, may pondo man o wala (if there’s fund or none). That’s part of our mandate,” Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr., PNP deputy chief for Operations, said in behalf of the PNP.
“May support or wala, we will still continue with our mandate,” Brigadier General Rodelio Santos, deputy chief of staff for Operations, meanwhile said for AFP.