Poll exec: Gov’t won’t save much money by postponing brgy polls

·2 min read

AN OFFICIAL of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Cebu City said postponing the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) won’t help the government save a lot of money, contrary to what some lawmakers have claimed.

The reason is that the poll body has already started disbursing funds amid the preparations for the BSKE scheduled on Dec. 5, 2022, Michael Sarno, election officer of Cebu City North District, told SunStar Cebu Monday, July 11, 2022.

“As to mo ingon ka nga ma save nato na siya og dili madayon, dili na tinuod kay sa pagkakaron ga sugod naman og gasto,” said Sarno. (To say that we’d save funds if the elections don’t push through is not accurate because we’ve already started spending for the elections.)

In recent interviews, Comelec Central Visayas regional election lawyer Ferdinand Gujilde said the government had allocated P8.6 billion for the conduct of the BSKE.

Several lawmakers have filed bills in Congress to postpone the BSKE, saying the funds intended for the election can be used for other purposes such as addressing the coronavirus disease pandemic.

However, Sarno believes that the funds that can be saved by postponing the elections will only be minimal if Congress will not act on the bills immediately.

“Magkagamay ang ma save kung magkadugay sila og decide og ma postpone ba or dili,” said Sarno.

Sarno added that since the Comelec is now preparing for the BSKE, expenses have already been incurred for the ongoing voter registration, and procurement of election-related materials may have already started.

“We cannot make our programs based on speculations. For now, there is a law that sets the BSKE on Dec. 5. Other than that, if there’s no law (postponing it, then that) is merely a speculation,” Sarno said.

Should the BSKE be postponed, what the government could save would only be the funds for the honoraria of teachers and other election personnel, he said.

Voter registration

The election officer also said the ongoing voter registration in Cebu City is running smoothly as off-site registration in shopping malls has been opened to the public.

According to Sarno, an average of 500 registrants visit their satellite registration centers per day both in the north and south districts.

Sarno encouraged those who want to register not to wait for the eleventh hour to avoid the long lines that normally form in the registration centers in the last days.

“Dili na sila magpadugay, kay the more you delay the registration, the more pud magkadaghan ang tao and that is the usual nga mahitabo,” said Sarno.

If the BSKE is rescheduled, Sarno said those who had registered but had not voted for the first time would no longer need to register themselves again.

Voter registration for the BSKE is only from July 4 to 23.

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