All set for 2013 elections – Comelec

August 29, 2012 10:19 pm 

By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, Aug. 29 – With its proposed budget intact, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday assured the smooth and orderly conduct of the 2013 elections.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes made the guarantee to members of the House of Representatives during panel deliberations on the proposed 2013 budget of the poll body as he confirmed that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had agreed to release the P5 billion the latter slashed from Comelec’s budget.

“More importantly, the P5 billion would be released this year making it available for the purchase of goods and services needed for the May 2013 elections,” Brillantes said.

The reversion of the said amount to the poll body’s funds would also enable the Comelec to prepare and supervise the conduct of the October 2013 barangay and youth elections should it push through, he said.

“We are now certain that elections would be held in 2013,” Brillantes said.

The P5 billion was part of the P7-billion fund for election automation, P1.8 billion of which was used by Comelec to purchase precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines while the reaminder of P5.2 billion was withheld by the DBM in favor of the national government.

The amount was supposedly to become part of the 2013 budget as a continuing appropriation.

Brillantes had threatened to resign over this and warned that the 2013 elections might not push through without the withheld amount.

The DBM agreed to revert the said amount to the Comelec after a series of meetings among officials from the two government bodies.

The P5 billion would be used to purchase election paraphernalia and augment the P8.416 billion 2013 budget of Comelec as previously planned. (PNA)

RMA/CMR

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