THE budget for the election of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials is intact.
This was made clear by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) following the decision of the Congress to postpone the voting of the local officials set on October 31.
During the budget deliberation, Comelec chair Andres Bautista was asked by the lawmakers about the allocations for the poll budget for this year.
“Largely intact,” Bautista told the members of the House Committee on Appropriations, as he presented the proposed Comelec budget for 2017 amounting to P3.3 billion.
According to Bautista, the government has allocated P6 billion for the conduct of barangay and SK elections, but the Comelec has right now spent about P50 million for the preparations.
"So we're looking to use that for the elections in 2017," Bautista said.
Earlier, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez led an all-party caucus where it was decided that they would defer the barangay and SK elections by one year.
In an earlier interview, Bautista said that the Comelec is neutral as to whether or not the polls would push through this 2016, which was also the same year as the national elections, but is leaving the decision to Congress.
In his report, Bautista said the P50 million was used for some preparations and mobilization of the scheduled elections.
While the Comelec started the printing of ballots last August 21, it ordered its suspension six days after. About 85 million ballots need to be printed for the polls.
Meanwhile, Bautista told the Committee that the Comelec may have to ask for more funds for the re-registration of voters.
"Perhaps we will need to make some adjustments...We will need also additional funds for registration. There will be a new registration for next year's barangay and SK polls,” he said.
There were over 50 million registered voters during the presidential elections last May.