A militant lawmaker has denounced the budget cut in the Commission on Elections, saying it is untimely because of the midterm elections next year.
ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro voiced her concern during the plenary debates on the 2019 budget of the poll body, saying election workers and Comelec employees will be the ones to suffer.
Under the proposed P3.757 trillion national budget for 2019, the Comelec is allotted P10.27 billion, down from this year’s budget of P16.15 billion.
While the poll body’s proposed budget for next year is P15.88 billion or 36.73 percent lower than its 2018 outlay, Comelec incurred the biggest cut in terms of percentage among all other government agencies, said Castro.
“Comelec does not deserve a budget this shockingly low especially in light of the upcoming 2019 elections,” Castro, a member of the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives, said.
“We urge Congress to reject the proposed 2019 budget of Comelec because it will not be enough for it to facilitate a successful national elections that is also in compliant with existing laws. We worry that this kind of budget cut might cripple the body tasked by our Constitution to protect our right to vote and ensure clean and honest elections,” she added.
She added that the proposed 2019 Comelec budget does not comply with the Election Service Reform Act, or ESRA law.
Republic Act No. 10756 or ERDA provides for increased honoraria and compensation package for the Boards of Election Inspectors and other election workers.
“These BEIs are mostly public school teachers who are already overworked with their tasks in school. With the current proposed budget of the Comelec, BEIs will not be properly compensated. We, therefore, demand an increase in the budget for the Comelec to enable it to comply with existing laws,” Castro said.