Proposed budget not enough to fund study on automating BSK elections in 2025 — Comelec

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said its P27.34 billion proposed budget is not enough to fund its study on automating the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in 2025.

"There was this resolution by the house committee on electoral reforms, it was approved by that committee, directing the commission to study the possibility of automating the election of the BSK in 2025," Comelec Chairman George Garcia told the hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance.

"And so, we were saying that the proposed budget right now does not contain yet a preparatory barangay and SK automated, barangay and SK elections," he said.

Garcia emphasized that they have a tight timeline since mid-term elections will also be held in May 2025.

"Kung mag-o-automate po kami ng BSKE [If we will automate BSKE] then ang filing ng certificate of candidacy for BSKE automated should be by May also of 2025, because we have to prepare the ballots of 42,021 barangays in the entire country," he said.

For his part, Senator Koko Pimentel said automating the BSKE may just be a waste of time.

"Sayang lang ‘yung effort niyo dun [Your efforts will be wasted]," Pimentel told Garcia.

"Number one, hindi naman ‘yan mandato ng batas," the senator added. "Number two, it’s really going to be expensive if you can pull it off. Tanong ko lang but why?…Concentrate na lang kayo sa NLE, concentrate na lang kayo sa BSKE na manual."

[Translation: Number one, that [BSKE] is not mandated by law. Number two, it’s really going to be expensive to pull it off. My question is why?...Just concentrate on NLE (National and Local Elections), just concentrate on using the manual system for BSKE.]

Meanwhile, under Republic Act (R.A.) 8436, as amended by R.A. 9369, the Comelec is authorized to use an automated election systems to ensure the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot and all election, including the consolidation and transmission documents to be transparent, credible, and fast.