Wednesday, September 05, 2007

LEDAC urged to meet on barangay polls postponement

A HOUSE leader yesterday called for an immediate meeting by the concerned government officials on whether or not to postpone the elections of the barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan scheduled on Oct. 29.

The move, according to Rep. Abraham Mitra (NPC, Palawan), is designed to stop the Commission on Elections from spending taxpayers’ money for activities preparatory to the polls.

Mitra, a House assistant majority leader, said the meeting should be held immediately during a session of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) which he suggested should be convened, preferably on Monday, by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo upon her return from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Sydney, Australia.

The lawmaker said the scheduled polls will cost some P2.13 billion, the amount allocated in this year’s budget for the particular exercise.

He said the money was scheduled to be released to the Comelec by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) in full by the end of last month.

“Sans any law postponing the elections, the DBM is duty-bound to release the funds and the Comelec is duty-bound to spend it for activities needed to hold an orderly election,” the congressman said.

“It is safe to assume that while Congress mulls on postponing it, forms are being printed, ballot boxes are being prepared, personnel are being trained, transport system is being set up together with all logistics needed for such an undertaking. An election in our country is always a big-budgeted production with a cast of hundreds of thousands,” Mitra said. Raul S. Beltran - People's Tonight

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