Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia (File photo courtesy of Comelec)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will soon start the training of teachers in connection with the holding of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on Dec. 5, 2022.

In an interview Monday, Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia said teachers, most of whom will be serving as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), will be trained on how to implement manual polls again.

“We will have the procurement of equipment and at the same time later on we will train the teachers again. Let's remember that our BSKE is a manual election, it's not computerized, so if our poll workers are trained in the computerized election, we will go back to the manual election training,” the poll body chief added.

It can be recalled that the past elections held in the country, including the May 9 national and local elections were automated.

On the other hand, Garcia said the Comelec is ready for the holding of the polls.

“Either way, (it will) continue or not, we are ready at the Comelec that is our constitutional duty. As of today, we have a law and the law says December 5, 2022, is our BSKE,” he added.

Garcia earlier urged lawmakers to decide on the fate of the BSKE before the end of August.

Meanwhile, Comelec acting spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said only more than PHP700,000 from the PHP8.4 billion total budget for the BSKE has so far been spent by the poll body.

Citing data from the poll body's Finance Services Department, he said the amount represents supplies under maintenance and other operating expenses worth over PHP225,000 and the PHP500,000 budget for the conduct of national conferences and workshop activities.

At the same time, Laudiangco said the Comelec is implementing a three-pronged election preparation activity: voter’s registration -- which culminated on July 23, with the Election Registration Board (ERB) hearings being conducted simultaneously nationwide on Aug. 1 (except for earthquake-hit areas where ERB hearings will be held on Aug. 15); national conferences and workshop activities, drafting and promulgation of implementing resolutions, where resolutions may be re-issued/re-promulgated in the event of postponement of the BSKE; and the procurement of ballot paper, official ballots, printing services for the ballots, accountable and non-accountable forms and other election supplies.

He added that no procured goods, including indelible inks, pens, and ballots will not be wasted and will be put accordingly to their intended use.

“Any procurement of goods will not be of waste should the proposed postponement/resetting be approved into law, as the same may be utilized in the new date of BSKE. This is similar to what the Commission had authorized for the May 14, 2018 BSKE wherein we used ballots and accountable forms which were all dated October 23, 2017,” Laudiangco said. (PNA)