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Comelec stops all preps for barangay, SK polls

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended all preparations for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections given its imminent postponement this year.

In a resolution released Tuesday, the poll body's en banc said "all activities, including bidding and procurements," will be stopped effective September 9, "in the exercise of prudence."

The decision was in line with the agreement by both houses of Congress to reset the elections from October 31, 2016 to October 23, 2017

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have approved on third and final reading the respective measures calling for the postponement of the barangay and SK elections.

The Comelec en banc also noted "recent pronouncements" of President Rodrigo Duterte, who said he is in favor of resetting the elections because of the possibility of drug money being used to fund campaigns

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body has already spent some P200 million out of the P6 billion allotted for the elections, the amount going to the initial printing of ballots, among others. 

The poll body was able to print 411,000 ballots before it stopped printing in line with indications of the postponement.

Jimenez said they are "now preparing for the Barangay and SK elections in 2017," and assured that there is still enough funds for that "from our continuing appropriations."

In lieu of the polls, registration for an estimated additional five million voters is set to start on October 3. —KBK, GMA News