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

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said there is a possibility that its expenses for the Dec. 5 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) will balloon if the bill postponing the polls is not passed by the end of October.

"As of now, we have spent around PHP1 billion since we have yet to pay those we issued Notices of Award. But once they start making the delivery, payments will have to be made. Therefore, it is possible that before October ends and the law is still not signed and passed, we may be able to spend around PHP2 to PHP3 billion out of the PHP8.5 billion budget," Comelec chairperson George Garcia said in a radio interview Wednesday.

Garcia reported that the printing of the official ballots for the BSKE will start on Thursday at the National Printing Office (NPO) in Quezon City.

"Tomorrow (Thursday), I will be going to the NPO to place the secret markings on the ballot. After which, we will already begin the printing of the almost 92 million ballots for the BSKE," he said.

Garcia added that they cannot afford to further delay the start of printing.

"There can be no more delays in the printing of ballots because we will need one whole month to do this since only three million ballots can be printed per day," he said.

Meanwhile, he expressed concerns over the possibility of the passage of the proposed bill being delayed.

Garcia noted that the Senate version has a provision on the qualifications of youth candidates.

"In the Senate version, there is a provision stating that SK candidates qualified for December 2022 will still be considered qualified if the BSKE is moved to December 2023. This provision is not in the House version," he said.

Last Tuesday, the Senate passed on the third and final reading of the proposed measure that will move the BSKE to December 2023.

The House of Representatives already passed its version of the bill last September 20. (PNA)