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Comelec to use remainder of P6B budget for 2017 polls

/ 10:53 AM September 20, 2016
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Comelec Chair Andres Bautista. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will use the remainder of its P6 billion budget for the postponed barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataang elections next year once they push through.

The poll body said it has already spent P200 million of its budget for the elections, which were originally scheduled to be held on October 31, 2016 but were deferred to 2017.

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“We still have enough funds for the 2017 elections from our continuing appropriations. We can still use our 2016 budget,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.

Last week, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed on final reading their respective bills deferring the electoral exercise to October 2017.

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READ: Senate approves on final reading bill to defer SK, barangay polls | House approves on final reading postponement of barangay polls

The bills have yet to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, who favored the postponement for fear that money from illegal drugs will be used to fund the campaigns of candidates.

READ: Duterte backs postponement of barangay, SK elections

The P200 million spent went to preparations such as the printing of official ballots by the National Printing Office, which had printed 411,000 official ballots before operations were suspended.

House Bill 3504, which postponed the elections to next year, allows the Comelec to continue using the appropriations given by the government for the 2017 polls.

Earlier, Comelec chairperson Andres Bautista said the funds intended for the 2016 elections are “largely intact.”

Bautista made the statement when he presented the poll body’s proposed budget for 2017 amounting to P3.3 billion to the House committee on appropriations.

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The Comelec will resume the registration of voters for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataang elections in October this year until April 2017.

More than 57 million voters are expected to vote in next year’s elections.

So far, an additional 3,095,187 voters registered for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

The Comelec is expecting two million more voters for the Sangguniang Kabataan polls and three million more for the barangay polls./rga

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TAGS: Andres Bautista, barangay elections, budget, Comelec, James Jimenez, SK elections
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