The Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives has agreed to increase the budget of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) next year by an additional P500 million to cover the electronic transmission costs of the May 9, 2016 elections.
The Comelec had originally requested a P600 million allocation to electronically transmit the 2016 election results from the precinct level to the various canvassing centers at the district, town, provincial and city levels, the Comelec main office and the Congress. But the House appropriations panel said the difference of P100 million and any other additional funds needed by the Comelec to ensure the orderly conduct of the elections could be sourced from its savings.
Besides the P500 million, the House committee also approved an additional P30 million for the conduct of absentee voting and P2 million as budgetary cover for the new Comelec building.
“This is a delicate balancing act. The gain of one agency or program is the loss of another. That is why we choose only the projects, programs or activities for which funds are critically needed, like the transmission of votes in next year’s elections,” said Rep. Isidro Ungab, the chairman of the appropriations committee.
The Comelec has P3 billion in savings, which only needs the authorization of the proper authorities so the amount can be utilized for other purposes.