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If budget stalls, Comelec has P4-billion contingency fund

AS the 2019 budget’s fate still hangs in Congress, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was able to secure a P4-billion contingency to pay the public-school teachers and other volunteers who will serve in the 2019 elections. 

In a late afternoon press conference on Tuesday, Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) allowed them to use 25 percent of their first quarter budget to meet their obligations to their volunteers as prescribed by Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform Act (Esra). 

He said they are also considering using their “savings,” which the Constitution allows them to use if they need additional funding.    

He, however, stressed they will only resort to both measures if the 2019 budget will not be passed on time by lawmakers. 

“Senators and [the House of Representatives] gave the commitment. It appears they will be able to pass it [2019 budget] after the first quarter. So the [budget] for the Esra is as good as saved,” Abas said.  

In its budget proposal to Congress, Comelec requested for a 10.2-billion budget for its 2019 National Expenditure
Program. 

Of this budget, P6 billion will be allocated for the 2019 National and Local Elections. 

On Wednesday, the Senate threatened to push for a reenacted 2018 budget amid fresh allegations the 2019 budget still contained illegal pork barrel. 

The House of Representatives leadership was alarmed with the latest development, since Comelec will not have the necessary funds to hold the 2019 polls. 

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