Com­elec bats for more bud­get for 2022 polls

The Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions in Cebu is lob­by­ing for an ad­di­tional bud­get in­stead of post­pon­ing the 2022 polls due to the COVID-19 pan­demic.

The Freeman - - News - — Le Phyl­lis F An­to­jado/ KQD

Pro­vin­cial Elec­tion Su­per­vi­sor Lionel Marco Cast illa no said the com­mis­sion needs a big­ger al­lo­ca­tion for the pur­chase of ad­di­tional vot­ing ma­chines and other equip­ment in com­pli­ance with the so­cial dis­tanc­ing pro­to­col.

He said more ma­chines are needed in or­der to lessen the num­ber of vot­ers per precinct.

“Mao bit a wang Com­elec man­gayo og dako- dako nga bud­get kay panan­gli­tan pag- abot sa 2022 sim­bako og naa gi­hapon ang pan­demic, naa gyud bud­get pa­malit og mga ad­di­tonal ma­chines para ma- pre­vent ang crowd­ing sam a tag presinto,” he said.

Also, he said an ad­di­tional bud­get is needed for the salaries and al­lowances of teach­ers who will serve as the Board of Elec­tion In­spec­tors.

His state­ment came on the heels of House Deputy Ma­jor­ity Leader and Pam­panga 2nd Dist. Rep. Mikey Ar­royo’s idea of post­pon­ing the 2022 na­tional elec­tions.

Ar­ro­ryo floated the idea dur­ing House de­lib­er­a­tions on the pro­posed 2021 bud­get of the Com­elec on Thurs­day.

He said the ear­li­est time a vac­cine for COVID- 19 may be­come avail­able to the public might be Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber 2021, which is al­ready the pe­riod for the fil­ing for can­di­dacy.

But Cast illa no said the 2022 polls can only be post­poned upon the amend­ment of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“We must re­mem­ber that con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion na sya nag set sa elec­tion. Og imong i-post­pone, not even by mere law imong ma post­pone kay dili na pare­has saba ran gay ( elec­tion) nga ang ga set is balaod ra, so kana kay con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion man na ki­na­hanglan i-amen­dar nimo ang Con­sti­tu­tion,” Castil­lano said.

He added that Com­elec can only post­pone t he na­tional elec­tions if there is a “force ma­jeure, ter­ror­ism, vi­o­lence or ana­lo­gus cir­cum­stances" that can force the com­mis­sion to move the polls, which must be con­ducted within 30 days from the oc­curence of the vi­o­lence or in­ci­dent.

The C OVID -19 pan­demic can­not be used as a rea­son for the post­pone­ment as it oc­curs roughly two year be­fore the elec­tions, he said.

LONGER VOT­ING PE­RIOD?

More­over, Castil­lano said the na­tional elec­tions could be con­ducted for two or three days.

He said longer poll is fea­si­ble but the le­gal­i­ties of it should be looked into.

In a sep­a­rate in­ter­view, Cebu Sixth Dis­trict Con­gress­woman Loly­pop Ouano Di­zon is ask­ing the Com­elec about its con­tin­gency plans and strate­gies “to en­sure the safety and health of the vot­ers.”

"Per­haps we can ask the Com­elec unsa ila con­ti­gency plans and strate­gies ana so peo­ple can still ex­press their man­date thru the bal­lots with­out en­dan­ger­ing their safety and the health of the public in gen­eral,” she said.

If the Com­elec’s mea­sures need a leg­is­la­tion and bud­get, she said, the Congress can act on them.

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