THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) requested lawmakers on Monday to realign over P5 billion as budget for its operations next year, which includes preparations for the 2025 mid-term elections for national and local posts nationwide.

“[If we don’t receive the] P5 billion for preparatory [of] national and local elections, we cannot render overtime with our present budget for the preparation, the transportation of our [vote counting] machines that will be sent to other countries for testing,” Commissioner George Erwin M. Garcia told the House Committee on Appropriations.

Mr. Garcia said the commission initially proposed a P44.77-billion fund for next year, but only received P27.34 billion under the President’s proposed budget to Congress. Comelec suffered an estimated budget cut of P17.4 billion. 

Under the 2024 National Expenditure Plan, only P22.9 billion is earmarked for the 2025 national and local elections. Mr. Garcia said this would lessen the ratio of voters to precincts.

“[The effect] of the P22-billion budget for the preparatory [of] elections will be [that]…instead of 128,000 precincts nationwide, we will only have 110,000 precincts,” Mr. Garcia said, noting that the budget will mean each precinct will have to accommodate 1,000 voters from the current 800. Beatriz Marie D. Cruz