Press Release
November 20, 2023

Cayetano pushes for multi-year budget for Comelec to prepare early for 2025 elections

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be given a two- or three-year budget to allow for early preparation for the 2025 elections.

During the plenary debate on Comelec's proposed 2024 budget, Cayetano said operating on a yearly budget makes it hard for the commission to fully prepare for elections, particularly the 2025 midterm polls which he said will be "very very important for our country."

According to the independent senator, a yearly budget means the Comelec cannot prepare for midterm elections two years from now. "It's very difficult to finish the budget signed by the President around December (2024), then January (2025) magsa-start [ang effectivity], and then ang election ay Mayo (2025)," he said.

He said in contrast, the Comelec was able to hold a "generally peaceful and fair" Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) because aside from "political will," there was ample time to prepare due to the postponements and the fact that it was held in October, many months after the effectivity of the 2023 national budget.

Cayetano said the government must also take into account some possible disruptions. "Like n'ung pandemic, a simple thing like logistics of how do you get the ballots to Northern Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao became a nightmare," he said.

According to the Comelec, a total of P5.96 billion more is needed to procure all materials needed in preparation for the midterm elections in 2025, in which new senators, members of Congress, and local government officials will be elected.

Cayetano urged fellow senators to find an "'innovative but legal way" of providing the commission all it needs this year so that the poll body will not have to wait for January 2025 before it bids out what it needs to hold the polls.

"I wonder if we can consider a two or three-year budget cycle for the Comelec," he said.

"Meaning, if they need P5.6 billion and we only gave them P3 billion this year, but we're assuring them that we will give them the P2.6 billion in January 2025, can they bid the whole P5.6 billion para in January 2025 hindi na nila inaalala y'ung admin side ng procurement?" he said.

Senator Imee Marcos, who sponsored Comelec's budget on the plenary floor, agreed with the independent senator's observations, saying a three-year budget cycle is more appropriate given that the country has a three-year election cycle.

"The problems that the one-year cycle produces are very evident in the construction of the Comelec building. It's grossly inefficient," she said.

Cayetano said he is looking forward to the suggestion being explored during the national budget's bicameral conference to be held in the last week of November.


Cayetano: Gawing multi-year ang budget ng Comelec para maagang mapaghandaan ang 2025 elections

Iminungkahi ni Senador Alan Peter Cayetano nitong Lunes na gawing pang-dalawa o tatlong taon ang budget ng Commission on Elections (Comelec) para ngayon pa lang ay masimulan na nito ang mga paghahanda para sa 2025 elections.

Sa isinagawang plenary debate ng Senado sa panukalang 2024 budget ng Comelec, mahirap para sa komisyon na paghandaan nang lubusan ang halalan, partikular na ang 2025 midterm polls na aniya ay "napaka-importante para sa ating bansa", gamit ang taunang budget.

Ayon sa independent senator, ang taunang budget kasi ay nangangahulugang hindi makapaghanda ang Comelec para sa midterm elections dalawang taon mula ngayon. "It's very difficult to finish the budget signed by the President around December (2024), then January (2025) magsa-start [ang effectivity], and then ang election ay Mayo (2025)," wika niya.

Samantala, nagawa aniya ng Comelec na magdaos ng "generally peaceful and fair" na Barangay at Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) dahil bukod sa "political will," may sapat na panahon ito para maghanda dahil buwan ng October ito ginanap, sampung buwan mula nang umpisahan ang bisa ng 2023 national budget.

Giit pa ni Cayetano, dapat ding isaalang-alang ng gobyerno ang ilang posibleng factor na gagambala sa eleksyon. "Like n'ung pandemic, a simple thing like logistics of how do you get the ballots to Northern Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao became a nightmare," aniya.

Ayon sa Comelec, P5.96 billion pa ang kailangan para sa pag-procure ng lahat ng materyales na kailangan bilang paghahanda sa midterm elections sa 2025, kung kailan maghahalal ang taumbayan ng mga bagong senador, miyembro ng Kongreso, at mga local government official.

Hinimok ni Cayetano ang mga kapwa senador na humanap ng "innovative but legal way" para maibigay na sa komisyon ang lahat ng kailangan nito ngayong taon upang hindi na kailangang hintayin pa ang January 2025 bago makapag-bid ng mga kailangan para sa botohan.

"I wonder if we can consider a two or three-year cycle ng budget para sa Comelec," aniya.

"Meaning, if they need P5.6 billion and we only gave them P3 billion this year, but we're assuring them that we will give them the P2.6 billion in January 2025, can they bid the whole P5.6 billion para in January 2025 hindi na nila inaalala y'ung admin side ng procurement?" dagdag niya.

Sinang-ayunan ni Senador Imee Marcos, na siyang nag-presenta ng budget ng Comelec sa plenaryo, ang obserbasyon ni Cayetano, at sinabing mas angkop ang three-year budget cycle para sa komisyon dahil kada-tatlong taon din ang eleksyon sa Pilipinas.

"The problems that the one-year cycle produces are very evident in the construction of the Comelec building. It's grossly inefficient," aniya.

Sinabi ni Cayetano na aasahan niyang matalakay ang mga nasabing suhestyon patungkol sa budget ng Comelec sa bicameral conference ng national budget na gaganapin sa katapusan ng November.

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