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Comelec on postponing barangay, SK polls for fourth time in six years: Malaking katipiran

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday echoed the take of House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez that postponing the December 2022 barangay and SK elections would save the government a lot of money.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia made the pronouncement, saying the 2022 barangay and SK elections would cost P8.6 billion.

"Napakalaking katipiran iyon sa ating bansa kasi P8.6 billion po ang magagastos sa barangay and SK elections. Isipin niyo po gaano kalaki ang matitipid natin kung sakaling walang eleksyon pero siyempre, parte iyan (eleksyon) ng ating demokrasya at Kongreso ang magdedesisyon kung matutuloy o hindi," Garcia said during Laging Handa briefing.

(We will save a lot of money by postponing polls. Think of the huge amount we will save but of course, elections are part of democracy and the decision is up to Congress.)

"Tatalima po kami sa [kung ano ang] sasabihin ng Kongreso, wala po kaming problema roon," Garcia added.

(We will heed the decision of Congress. We have no problem with that.)

Should the elections be deferred, this will mark the fourth time that Congress postponed the barangay and SK elections since October 2016.

The October 2016 barangay and SK polls were postponed to October 2017. From then, it was postponed to May 2018. It was again reset to May 2022.

Garcia said that if the 2022 barangay and SK elections push through, the poll body would open voters' registration by July, after which the Comelec would have to look for a company that would print the ballots for the said polls.

Unlike the national and local elections, which have been fully automated since 2010, the 2022 barangay and SK elections would be a manual election.

Romualdez earlier said that the Liga ng mga Barangay favored the postponement of the December 2022 barangay and SK polls. Furthermore, the P8 billion budget for that could instead be used to fund COVID-19 response initiatives.

"Unang-una magkakaroon tayo ng savings na P8.141 billion that we can deploy for COVID response and economic stimulus, the ayuda and all that the country needs especially those that are suffering from the pandemic," Romualdez said.

Romualdez, who is expected to win the Speakership battle in the next Congress, is the cousin of presumptive President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — DVM, GMA News