THE HOUSE of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill increasing the limit on campaign expenses of candidates and political parties.

There were 213 affirmative and six negative votes, and one abstention.

The bill will increase the expenses of candidates to P50 from P10 per voter for President, vice president and senators; and to P30 from P3 per voter for other candidates.

The bill also increases the authorized expenses of political parties to P50 from P5 per voter for national candidates and to P30 per voter for local candidates.

The measure orders the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, National Economic and Development Authority and Philippine Statistics Authority to adjust the amounts every six years for inflation.

“The loud and growing clamor to adjust the poll spending cap did not only come from the candidates, political parties, and Comelec, but from international election observers,” House Deputy Speaker and Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry S. Oaminal said in the bill’s explanatory note.

Gabriela Party-List Rep. Arlene D. Brosas, who voted against the measure, said the bill “distorts the already skewed election playing field to the benefit of rich and powerful political families who have the means to max out their campaign expenses, while eligible ordinary Filipinos had to make do with limited exposure.” — Genshen L. Espedido