A MILITANT solon has expressed disappointment over the huge cuts in the budget of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with elections coming next year.
During the budget deliberation in the plenary, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro questioned the slash in the Comelec budget amounting to P5.88 billion.
Castro lamented that election workers and employees will suffer the most from the cut.
Under the budget proposed by the executive department, Comelec will only have P10.278 billion for 2019.
This year, Comelec got allocations of P16.151 billion.
“Comelec does not deserve a budget this shockingly low especially in light of the upcoming 2019 elections,” Castro said.
”Are the Department of Budget and Management and this administration even aware that 2019 is an election year? We worry that this kind of budget cut might cripple the body tasked by our Constitution to protect our right to vote and ensure clean and honest elections,” she added.
The Comelec has proposed P15.9 billion budget for the conduct of the 2019 national and local elections but the DBM only approved P6 billion.
According to the Comelec, they would need at least P8 billion to be able to have a successful 2019 national elections.
“These figures are very alarming. The Comelec would resort to using old PCOS machines or other ways to save money that may compromise the success and fairness of the upcoming national elections,” Castro said.
Castro has reminded Congress that Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform Act provides for increased honoraria and compensation package for the Boards of Election Inspectors (BEI) and other election workers.
These BEIs are mostly public school teachers who are already overworked with their tasks in school.
“With the current proposed budget of the Comelec, BEIs will not be properly compensated. We therefore demand an increase in the budget for the Comelec to enable it to comply with existing laws,” Castro lamented.