COMELEC Commissioner George Erwin M. Garcia in press briefing on Oct. 13. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) is adjusting its preparations for the supposed village and youth council elections in December after it was moved to October next year, according to the Comelec chief. 

“We will prepare a new ballot template to reflect the new date, which is October 30 of 2023,” Comelec Chairperson George Erwin M. Garcia told the ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday.  

Crafting the new ballot templates would only take a week and will not affect current preparations, he said. 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos signed a bill on Wednesday postponing the elections. 

The election body chief said about five to six million ballots have so far been printed since the National Printing Office started last month, which will still be used in the elections next year.  

He added that voter registration will resume during the last week of November until the last week of May 2023. Comelec expects about 3.5 million additional voters. 

“As far as my own personal opinion is concerned, I could have wished the elections should have pushed through on December 5, 2022,” said Mr. Garcia. 

Congress first deferred the local elections initially set for May to December amid a coronavirus pandemic. 

In August, Mr. Garcia told a Senate committee hearing that postponing the elections would require of up to P18 billion, more than double its original budget of P8.44 billion.  

Comelec earlier said it had spent more than a billion pesos on preparations. John Victor D. Ordoñez