Poll reset will cost Comelec more

September 10, 2022

The Commission on Elections will need additional funding if the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections will be postponed to two different dates.

Comelec chairperson George Garcia said during the hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations that they will need an additional P9.5 billion, if the polls are moved to May 2023 or P10.85 billion if it is moved to December 2023.

“We will be needing P17,093,550,000 for May 2023. P7.5 billion that we have right now so we still have a deficiency of P9.5 billion,” Garcia said.

“For December 2023, P18,441,376,000, less than the P7.5 billion that we have right now, then we still have a deficiency of P10,858,030,000,” he added.

Garcia said they will continue the voter registration from October until December if the measure will be approved and scheduled by May 2023, and if it is scheduled to reset by December 2023, the poll body will have a voter registration from October 2022 to June 2023.

“When we submitted to the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms our computation, in summary, if we reset the election on December 5, 2022, we will start continuing registration by October of this year. If May of 2023, we will be conducting registration from October to December. Ang projection ng Philippine Statistics Authority that we agree with based on our projection that have not registered yet are three million voters,” he began.

“If we are going to reset the election by December 2023, we will have to have our continuing registration from October of this year to June of next year…Therefore, our projection of 14-year-olds who will turn 15 and those who have not yet registered, it should be almost five million,” Garcia said.

Garcia stated that the postponement will necessitate the addition of more polling precincts.

“If we move the elections to December 2023, we will need more precincts. We now have 207,000. This would go from 207,000 to 239,000,” he explained.

Garcia said the poll body would need to hire an additional 333,212 poll workers to conduct elections, with each receiving an honorarium of P10,000, P9,000, or P6,000 depending on their duty classification.

Meanwhile, the House committee approved a consolidated bill that seeks to postpone the December 2022 BSKEs, though the bill does not specify a new date.

The poll body has an approved proposed budget from the Department of Budget and Management worth P5.222 billion for 2023.

In a related development, Comelec said that it will require them to spend ₱42 billion to shift to a hybrid election system.

Garcia said during the House Committee on Appropriations hearing that the hybrid election system is more expensive than the current automated election system since it will require poll workers to longer working hours.

“The hybrid system of election is more expensive as compared to the fully computerized election. We will have a longer period of teachers and therefore, like what happened to us, we increased their honoraria,” Garcia said.

“When we go hybrid, we will spend P42.3 billion. When fully computerized only, we will spend P32 billion,” Garcia added.

In accordance with Republic Act 9369, an automated election system is required.

Garcia also requested that the 90,000 vote counting devices that were used in the 2022 elections be retired.

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