More commissioners oppose purchase of uniforms
Two other commissioners have asked for a review of the Commission on Elections planned purchase of uniforms for the more than 300,000 employees and public school teachers who will work the polls on election day, after the Comelec drew flak from the public.
In an urgent memorandum, Commissioners Christian Robert Lim and Luie Guia asked the full commission to reassess its decision to procure the bib vests or singlets for use by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) and support staff in the May 9 elections.
On Saturday, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said she was opposing the purchase of the bibs, noting that she was on an official trip abroad when the commission approved the resolution allowing the procurement.
“I would have objected to it as an unnecessary expense,” said Guanzon.
The official said she preferred raising the stipend of the BEIs or the relocation allowances of the regional directors, provincial election supervisors and election officers.
The Comelec had allotted P26.55 million for the singlets and another P1.2 million for the procurement of more than 6,000 T-shirts that poll employees will wear on election day as their uniform.
Lim and Guia raised concerns over the negative reactions from the public, saying this could end up further “eroding” public confidence in the Comelec.
“In this regard, undersigned respectfully recommend that the commission en banc revisits, reassesses and reconsiders its decision to procure the singlets and the shirts. It is believed there will be no harm done if the decision be reconsidered,” said the commissioners.
The two officials noted that the Comelec decision was “generally met” with negative reactions when the procurement of the singlets and shirts became public. The criticism was heavy on social media while mainstream media “came out with its critique of the procurement,” they added.
“[We] expect that this will add to the recent public relation challenges that the commission has been enduring. Thus, instead of enhancing credibility in the process, the decision may end up eroding public confidence in the same,” they said.
Earlier, poll watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections said the procurement of vests and T-shirts that will be worn for only one day was an “unnecessary waste” of Comelec resources. It suggested that instead of allotting funding for uniforms, the Comelec should increase the per diem of the BEIs.
In pushing for the purchase of uniforms, the Comelec stated the move was aimed at enhancing the credibility of the May 9 elections.
Last week, the Comelec bids and awards committee issued an invitation to bid for the purchase of the vests and the T-shirts. The pre-bid conference had been set last Wednesday while the opening of the bids was scheduled for April 13.
The Comelec BAC said interested suppliers may obtain bid documents at P25,000 for Lot 1 and P5,000 for Lot 2 from March 22 to April 13.
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