New Comelec building to cost more

PNA photo by Avito Dalan

The Commission on Elections on Monday said the total budget for the construction of its nine-story building has been adjusted to P9.3 billion from the original estimate of P8.2 billion.

In a press briefing during the ocular inspection of the future site of the poll body’s main headquarters in Pasay City, Comelec chairperson George Garcia said the computation for the construction of the building has been adjusted due to the inflation of construction materials, since its initial computation was based in 2019.

Comelec Administrative Services Department Director Julius Thaddeus Hernan said the original timeline for the construction of the building will only take three years. But due to budget constraints, the timeline was extended by up to five years.

“The per annum budget allocation will be too large, so we are very mindful of the fiscal space of the government, that’s why it was discussed to extend the construction period by five years so that the annual allocation will be a little bit smaller,” Hernan said.

He said the building will not only house the offices of its officials and all departments, but also the storage facility of its vote counting machines, as well as the Comelec Academy where officials, employees and stakeholders were able to be trained on the conduct of elections.

The academy has also a dormitory where field officials who will do official transactions will no longer spend lodging fees. Other building amenities also include an auditorium, a health facility, and a Day Care Center.

Under the 2023 proposed budget submitted by the Department of Budget and Management before Congress, the poll body has a P5.2 billion budget, lower compared to the poll body’s proposed budget of P10 billion.

Initial phase

Garcia previously said the DBM has allotted P500 million for the initial phase of the construction of the building.

He said that the poll body spent P72 to P75 million monthly on leasing office spaces in Intramuros, Manila, as well as warehouses in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Pasig City, and Philippine Postal Corporation.

Meanwhile, he said he plans to conduct an election summit in January next year.

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