Printing of ballots continues as Barangay, SK elections hang
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has proceeded with the printing of ballots in the absence of a law that postpones the conduct of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on October 23.
Early this week, the Lower House voted to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls with a vote of 213-10.
The Senate has yet to decide on the matter although sources said it is likely to favor a postponement, too and only the date remains the bone of contention.
"The House wants it held in May, the Senate, in October — both in 2018. If this report is accurate, then it would appear that the Senate is in favor of postponement as well. Once the disagreement in dates is sorted out, all that is needed for postponement to happen is the President's signature," Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said in an earlier interview.
The poll body has already spent close to 140 million for the printing of 13 million ballots. Comelec needs 60 million ballot for the synchronized polls.
"The cost per ballot is 13. So, if you are already at 13 million ballots, then that's 139 milion spent. That’s just on ballots," Jimenez said.
"We are also spending for setting up of trainings of Board of Election Tellers (BETs), Barangay Boards of Canvassers. We are also getting ready for the refurbishing of ballot boxes, getting ready to print other forms," he added.
Storage problem The Comelec earlier said it will continue to prepare for the October polls as Congress remains undecided on whether to postpone it or not.
"I think it is more prudent to continue and then later on find a way to mitigate the expenses," Jimenez added.
Jimenez, however explained that the printed ballots will not go to waste in the event the exercise is postponed.
"Example: A resolution could be passed saying that the 13 million ballots dated October 23, 2017 shall be useable for the barangay elections on whatever date. That can be done," Jimenez said.
The problem, he admitted is in storing the ballots.
"If you have to store ballots to use at a later date, that's 13 million that you have to find a solution for. Thirteen million that you have to store until actual use so that's additional cost," said Jimenez.
"That 13 million might be reduced due to storage loss either it got wet because of rain or it was eaten by rats whatever... I don’t know what will happen in storage, but that 13 million I doubt that it will be a 100 percent available when the elections are going to take place," he added.
According to Jimenez, they are already approaching the peak printing capacity of two million which they expect to hit anytime this week.