Davao Sur agrees to help Comelec in funding plebiscite-A A +A
Sunday, October 6, 2013
THE local government of Davao del Sur agreed to shoulder some of the expenses of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the plebiscite to be conducted on October 28 regarding the creation of the province of Davao Occidental.
According to Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca, the local government has already agreed to shoulder about 10 percent of the P11 million budget projected by the poll body for it to be conducted along with the barangay elections.
“They will be giving additional budget we may need for the plebiscite,” said Padaca.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes noted that about P1.1 million of the budget in the plebiscite will be sourced from the local government of Davao del Sur.
“Nakalagay sa batas na ang Comelec ang gagastos. Normally yan, local government unit ang gagastos sa mga plebiscites. Pero dito, kami daw ang gagastos ng P11 million nanaman ito. Sabi namin tumulong naman kayo dahil kulang kami financially,” said the poll chief.
Brillantes said that proof of their financial woes is the need to synchronize the plebiscite with the barangay polls.
To note, the Comelec decided to print special ballots for the voters in Davao del Sur as they will also be asked if they are in favor or not of the Municipalities of Sta. Maria, Malita, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos, and Sarangani composing the new Province of Davao Occidental.
To recall, the Comelec had already said that they need P3.45 billion for the October 28 elections but that the General Appropriations Act of 2013 only allocated P1.175 billion for it.
This leaves the Comelec to scour for an additional amount of P2.28 billion prompting it to issue Comelec Resolution No. 9739, which requires every barangay in the country to allocate P10,000 each for the October 28 barangay polls.
Relative to this, the Comelec said it is giving barangay officials until October 18 to send in their allocation that will help finance the forthcoming exercise.
“Local government units must submit their contributions as required by Resolution No. 9739 not later than October 18,” said Comelec Resolution 9783.
“Local government officials in-charge of the funds or accountable for such funds, who continue to desist, be unwilling, or disinclined to comply without sufficient or justifiable reason, shall be charged with an election offense,” it added.
The Comelec said this is aside from the possible administrative action that the government may impose on the erring official.
Several barangay officials have already expressed refusal to allocate P10,000 citing differing reasons ranging from lack of budget to having no such responsibility.
Section 50 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) states that “local governments shall appropriate funds to defray such necessary and reasonable expenses of the members of the board of election tellers (BETs), board of canvassers (BOC), the printing of election forms, the procurement of other election paraphernalia, and the installation of polling booths”. (HDT/Sunnex)