MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is asking Congress to increase its budget for next year as it prepares ahead for the 2022 presidential election.
The poll body initially proposed a budget of almost P23.7 billion for next year, but this has been slashed by more than half.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved only P10.41 billion for COMELEC’s 2021 budget.
According to COMELEC Spokesperson Director James Jimenez, a huge portion of the slashed amount was intended for measures that will be adopted during the 2022 national elections amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The COMELEC was planning to rent additional vote counting machines.
“Iyong gagawin namin sa present budget, kung iyan lang ang maibigay sa amin, is ire-refurbish namin (What we will do with the present budget — if that’s the only amount we have — is to refurbish),” COMELEC Chairman Sheriff Abas.
Around P65.4 million voters, an increase of 13.76 percent from last elections, are expected to vote in 2022.
“Kapag marami ang botante at nagsisiksikan sila sa isang makina, medyo unsafe iyan pagdating sa situwasyon natin ngayon na pandemya (If there is a huge voter turnout and everyone flocks to one machine, that’s unsafe given the current situation in this pandemic), ” explained COMELEC Spokesperson Director James Jimenez.
Based on COMELEC’s plan for the elections, the number of voters inside precincts would be reduced from 12 to 5 to maintain safe physical distance.
COMELEC is also mulling on holding the election for more than one day to reduce the number of voters coming to the venues.
The online filing of candidacy is also being considered.
Meanwhile, Agusan del Norte representative Lawrence Fortun is worried about the turnout in the 2022 elections if the poll body fails to convince Filipino voters that it is safe to go to polling precincts physically.
“If COMELEC cannot assure our voters of their safety, considering that electoral activities really draw large crowds, many might not be able to vote,” Fortun said,
The poll body is also waiting for election-related bills to address fears of virus transmission.
These include early voting for persons with disability and senior citizens, as well as voting via mail.
COMELEC also plans to apply the best practices in other countries who have held elections in the middle of the pandemic, such as South Korea.
There is also a bill that aims to push for hybrid elections.
However, COMELEC estimates that P50 billion to P60 billion will be needed for hybrid elections. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday (September 21) announced its newly nominated poll commissioner, Atty. Michael Braganza Peloton.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas in a statement said, Peloton will be able to greatly contribute in further improving and revolutionizing electoral processes due to his vast experience in the field of law and information technology.
“Commissioner Peloton joins Comelec at an exciting and challenging time, as we have already started preparations for the 2022 national and local elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abas said.
Abas also said Peloton will serve as commissioner until February 2, 2027 after replacing Commissioner Luie Guia who retired last February. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday announced the temporary closure of its offices in various areas amid the surge of coronavirus disease cases.
In an advisory, Comelec said its main office in Intramuros as well as the offices of the Regional Election Director of the National Capital Region, and Regions IV-A and IV-B will be closed to the public “for extensive disinfection and decontamination.”
The temporary closure will take effect from August 3 to August 16, the poll body said.
Along with the office shutdown, the issuance of local and overseas voters’ certificates in the main office will also be temporarily suspended, Comelec said.
The poll body, however, said, its officers and employees will continue to perform their functions on a work-from-home basis.
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