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Comelec ready for however Congress decides on barangay, SK polls —Bautista

Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista said Wednesday that they are prepared regardless of whether the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will push through or moved to May 2018.

"We are neutral sa issue na ito. Kaya po naming ipatupad kung anuman ang magiging desisyon ng ating liderato. In fact kanina nga inilatag namin yung schedule ng pagiimprenta," Bautista said in an interview on News To Go.

The Comelec chair expressed similar thoughts at the kick-off ceremony for the printing of ballots at the National Printing Office (NPO).

He added then that an enbanc meeting will be held at Davao to get ahold of the situation from people living in Mindanao and decide if elections should be suspended in light of martial law.



Bautista, however, requested that Comelec be given enough time to prepare if elections are moved to May 2018.

"Pero kami rin naman kung ang magiging pasya ay ipagpaliban ito, wala rin naman kaming problema, basta lang magbigay ng tamang puwang o kaya panahon para sa paghahanda naman para sa susunod na halalan sa May 2018," Bautista said on News To Go.

Should both elections be suspended, all ballots will be stored at the NPO headquarters.

If elections are suspended for Mindanao alone, this would be the first time elections will be suspended for a whole major island group as no other regions have been identified as having the same safety concerns as Mindanao.

Bautista initiated the printing of 11,000 ballots for the barangay and SK elections at the NPO on Wednesday.



Printing, packing, and shipping of ballots for the ARMM region will be skipped in favor of Batanes. Printing for Batanes began today and ballots for Region 8 or Biliran will be printed tomorrow.

ARMM is traditionally the first region to have its ballots printed owing its distance from the capital.



NPO estimates that 100,000 ballots will be printed from August 10 to 12; a million to 1.5 million per day from the 13th to 31; and 2 million from September 1 to October 9, resulting in a total of 77,261,086 million ballots.

Each 4.5" x 8" ballot costs P3 and will come to a total of P231.6 million.

Barangay ballots will be printed in all black except for their serial numbers and government logos, while SK ballots will have red ink in some portions.

Arabic translations will be ailable as required by law.

Printing 185,513 sets, or two pages of four copies, of election returns for barangay and SK results each will cost a total of P74,205,200 or P37,102,600 each. —Rie Takumi/NB, GMA News