"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Swift passage of automation budget for May 2010 elections sought

Both Houses of Congress should act with dispatch on the proposed P11.3-billion supplemental budget for the automation of the May 2010 presidential elections said
Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today.

In a media interview, Gordon pointed out that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has a lot of preparations to undertake, thereby rendering it urgent for the House and Senate to pass the supplemental appropriation bill soon.

"We have to move fast. The Comelec, the executive and the legislature have to see to it that the (automation) law happens when the election takes place in May. Talagang dapat maipasa yan agad sa lalong madaling panahon," he said.

"The law says we have to publish and train everybody on this matter. That is why I filed the bill early this year. Dapat pag-akyat sa Kongreso ng panukalang batas,, tuloy-tuloy na sa Senado at maumpisahan na yan para wala ng excuse," he added.

Gordon, author of the amended Automated Election System Law, filed Senate Bill No. 3021 which seeks to authorize a supplemental appropriation for an automated election system in the amount of P11.3 billion.

Comelec has urged Congress to pass the proposed P11.3-billion supplemental budget for the automated 2010 polls, adding that the budget allotted must be released by April this year if the country were to push through with poll automation.

Unless they are certain of the availability of funds, Comelec Chairman Jose Melo explained they cannot start the bidding for voting machines and the subsequent publishing of its terms of reference, which is very detailed.

He added that if the release of the funds will be delayed, the suppliers of the automation technology that would be used may not be able to meet the deadline.

Gordon expressed hope that the appropriations bill will be passed before Congress goes on a month-long recess to ensure transparency, credibility, fairness and accuracy of the country's electoral exercise through the automation of the 2010 polls.

Congress is scheduled to take a Lenten break starting March 7.

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