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Comelec collection from LGUs for barangay polls falls short of target

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) only collected P101.9 million of the P420.28 million it expected to receive from local government units (LGUs) to augment its budget for the October 28 barangay elections.

This was according to the Comelec's Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations on Wednesday, six days after the October 18 deadline for LGUs to remit their contributions for the barangay elections lapsed.

According to Comelec Resolution No. 9739, LGUs are required "to set aside such amounts as may be necessary to augment the appropriations of the Commission for the conduct of the 2013 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, which in no case shall be less than Ten Thousand Pesos (PHP 10,000.00) but not more than ten per centum (10%) of the general fund of Barangays which have been reserved and set aside for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)."

The collected funds would be used to defray the Board of Election Tellers' (BETs) expenses such as transportation allowance, additional honoraria and trainings and meetings, according to the resolution.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said they would no longer run after the areas that failed to remit their share. "Pero ilalagay namin as receivables through the barangays," he said.

"May mga naririnig kaming barangay na nagsasabing hindi sila magbabayad. May election offense din naman 'yan, kung gusto niyong magpakulong," he also said.

According to Section 50 of the Omnibus Election Code, LGUs should give funds to defray expenses of the members of the board of election tellers, board of canvassers, as well as the printing of election forms, procurement of election paraphernalia, and installation of polling booths.

Brillantes said the Comelec may not ask barangays in Bohol to remit their share due to the effects of the deadly magnitude-7.2 earthquake there last week.

"Pag-aaralan namin. Iba naman sitwasyon sa Bohol, tinamaan naman 'yan ng calamity," he said.

Around 54 million voters are expected to vote in the October 28 barangay elections. The Comelec has set aside 170,603 clustered precincts spread throughout the country's 42,028 barangays in 80 provinces. The SK elections, on the other hand, was postponed. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News