MANILA – Lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Friday called for the restoration of the PHP15.5-billion cut made in the proposed budget of the Commission on Elections for 2022.
During the House appropriations committee’s hearing on the proposed PHP26.728-billion budget of the Comelec for next year, Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas cited the need to look into the budget cut as sufficient funding would be necessary for the conduct of the national and local elections in May 2022.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas noted that there is no allocation for the hazard pay of those who will serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in the proposed 2022 budget of the agency, as the funding for that was not approved by the Department of Budget and Management.
“So as to hazard pay po, we asked that to DBM, unfortunately, hindi nabigay ‘yung hazard pay (there is no funding allotted for hazard pay). So sa ngayon sa budget namin ngayon, hindi kasama ang hazard pay (So for the  budget proposal, hazard pay allocation is not included),” Abas said.
Abas, however, reported that PHP2,000 would be added to the honorarium for teachers, who are usually poll servers, and assured that the agency evaluates every three years what additional remuneration could be given to them.
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso assured that he would move for the restoration of the budget cut in due time, stressing that the credibility of the elections would hinge on the people manning the voting precincts.
According to Comelec Finance Services Director Maria Lea Alarkon, the agency has allotted PHP111.91 million for overseas voting and continuing registration, PHP13.63 billion for the national and local elections, and PHP8.44 billion for the Sangguniang Kabataan and barangay elections. (PNA)