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Comelec exempts fuel subsidy from poll spending ban

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved the exemption of the government's fuel subsidy grant to public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers from the election spending ban.

"By virtue of the authority granted upon me under COMELEC Resolution No. 10944, promulgated on 09 August 2023, the recommendation of the Law Department is hereby approved," the memorandum, signed by Comelec chairman George Erwin Garcia, stated.

It was indicated that the exemption of fuel subsidy from the spending ban should not in any manner influence the conduct of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.

Further, the issuance of a certificate of exemption shall also not prevent the conduct of preliminary investigation in cases where the prohibited acts as described in Section 261 (o) of the OEC occur.

The Comelec earlier issued Resolution 10944 which prohibits the "releasing, disbursing, or spending of public funds for social welfare projects” from September 15 to October 30," the day of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE). 

Garcia had said that while the Comelec resolution only covers aid distribution given by the barangays, it would be better to issue an explicit resolution covering fuel subsidy to avoid legal questions. —KBK/RSJ, GMA Integrated News