Postponing village, youth council elections will more than double budget to P18B  


THE PROPOSED one-year postponement of the December 2022 elections for village and youth council leaders will mean a budget requirement of up to P18 billion, more than double the current P8.44-billion allocation, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair said on Tuesday.   

Comelec Chairman George Erwin M. Garcia told senators during the Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation hearing that the higher cost is due to an expected increase in voters as the application process will have to be reopened, and the corresponding supplies this will entail such as ballots.   

Teachers who will be serving as electoral board members will also have to be paid a higher honoraria, which is no longer subject to tax exemption.   

“The big bulk of this budget is actually intended for the payment of our electoral board members,” Mr. Garcia said. “The reason is because of the increase in honoraria.”   

Senator María Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos, who chaired the hearing, questioned the big difference in cost, but admitted that she personally does not support a postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.   

“I will admit that in my personal opinion, we should not postpone, having made a promise to Sen. Drilon in the 18th Congress that this will be the last postponement. However, like the Comelec, I am here at your disposal and better judgment,” Ms. Marcos said in her opening speech for the committee hearing.     

The barangay and SK elections were supposed to be held in 2021, the mandated three years from the previous one.   

The Comelec chairman also said that between May and December next year, he prefers to have the elections in May because “December is really close to 2024 and the preparation for the 2025 elections, so May is the ideal month to conduct the election in the event that Congress will deem it necessary to postpone the elections.”  

Mr. Garcia has assured that Comelec is prepared if Congress chooses to push through with the elections on December 5. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan