Lawmaker pushes for Comelec multi-year budget

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20) — The Commision on Elections (Comelec) should be provided with a two or three-year budget to allow the agency to prepare for the 2025 elections, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said on Monday.

According to Cayetano, the Comelec's operations are being affected by the one-year budget system, stressing that the agency can better prepare for the 2025 midterm polls if it gets its budget earlier.

"It’s very difficult to finish the budget signed by the President around December (2024), then January (2025) magsa-start [ang effectivity], and then ang election ay Mayo (2025),” Cayetano said during the plenary debate on Comelec' proposed 2024 budget.

[Translation: It's very difficult to finish the budget signed by the President around December 2024, then its effectivity will start in January 2025, then the election will be in May 2025.]

“I wonder if we can consider a two- or three-year budget cycle for the Comelec,” he said.

According to Cayetano, the Comelec was able to hold a "generally peaceful and fair" Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) due to "political will" and also because of the extended preparatory time resulting from its postponement.

He added that holding the elections in October was also a factor, noting that the polls were held months after the 2023 national budget has become effective.


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He said the government must also consider the possible disruptions, citing the experience during COVID-19 pandemic when the poll body had a hard time getting the ballots to Northern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

According to the Comelec, it needs ₱5.96 billion more to prepare for the midterm elections in 2025.

“Meaning, if they need ₱5.6 billion and we only gave them ₱3 billion this year but we’re assuring them that we will give them the ₱2.6 billion in January 2025, can they bid the whole ₱5.6 billion para [so that] in January 2025 hindi na nila inaalala 'yung [they won't have to worry about the] admin side ng [of] procurement?” he said.

Comelec budget sponsor Senator Imee Marcos said that a three-year budget cycle for the agency is more appropriate because the country has a three-year election cycle.