Comelec’s budget proposal cut-A A +A
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
CEBU City’s poll offices will no longer buy two vehicles and two firearms after the City Government’s local finance committee slashed the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) proposed budget for the May 13, 2013 elections by almost 50 percent.
Out of the P19.4 million that the Comelec Cebu City offices proposed, the finance committee approved to include only P10 million for the Election Reserve Fund in the proposed 2013 General Fund. The City Council has yet to deliberate on the proposed budget.
The proposed budget with Comelec and the list of items were submitted to Mayor Michael Rama last Sept. 28.
Included in the Comelec’s proposed budget are the meals that will be served to the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) and watchers during their trainings, which amount to P2.48 million.
Some 5,500 BEIs, police officers, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology officers and Comelec staff will also be given meal allowance, transportation and honorarium amounting to P3.2 million.
The finance committee removed the P2-million contingency fund, as well as P2.5 million for the overtime pay of the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) personnel and P120,000 intended for mobile phone SIM cards and pre-paid cards from the Comelec’s proposed list of items.
Acting City Treasurer Emma Villarete said the finance committee also decided to exclude the request for purchase of two pick-up type vehicles amounting to P2 million, which is one of the items in the capital outlay.
The proposed P3.2-million allocation for capital outlay was reduced to P1 million.
She explained that the City’s priorities in the purchase of vehicles are the garbage trucks for the barangays and the patrol cars for the police department.
“As for the P2.5 million contingency fund, we had to remove it because the City is not allowed to release contingency funds or discretionary funds to any office except the Office of the Mayor. As for the capital outlay items, it’s up to the Comelec officials (to decide) which they will prioritize,” Villarete told Sun.Star Cebu.
Among the proposed items under capital outlay are two tablet computers (P100,000), two vaults (P60,000), two public address systems (P100,000), six units of desktop computers (P480,000), one digital camera (P80,000), two projectors with screen
(P40,000), two .45 Glock firearms (P140,000) and a laptop computer (P70,000).
Villarete said they also removed the allocation for the overtime pay of the CTO personnel because it should be included in CTO’s budget, and not Comelec’s.
Before these are submitted to the City Council, the proposed budget of the different departments and offices of the City Government were reduced by the Local Finance Committee to see to it that the items are in accordance with the City’s priority projects and programs.
Lawyer Marchel Sarno, election officer for the north district, said he and lawyer Edwin Cadungog, election officer for the south district, will meet to discuss what they will prioritized as soon as the budget is approved.
“Whatever amount the City will approve and release, we will live with it. We will just prioritize our purchases, subject to rules and regulations of the Commission on Audit,” he said.
For the 2010 elections, the City Government approved a P25-million Election Reserve Fund. The Election Reserve Fund in 2007 was only P9 million.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 24, 2012.