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House set to pass automated budget bill

Posted on: February 24, 2009

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 23:14:00 02/23/2009

MANILA, Philippines—Members of the House of Representatives on Monday agreed to grant “conditional approval” of the P11.3 million supplemental budget for the 2010 automated polls.

Representative Junie Cua, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said lawmakers during Monday’s caucus reached agreement to pass House Bill 5715 but subject to several pre-conditions.

“In the caucus, while we agree as a body to pass an appropriation measure, the House will write into law a provision that no funds shall be dispense until a legislation is passed defining the process of automation agreed upon by House members,” Cua said.

Cua said this would ensure the needed budget for the polls was available “so that whatever the decision of this Congress is, funds are made available to answer the automation exercises we will agree upon.”

This would also give the Commission on Elections ample time to buy election machines and ready all other requirements needed for the country’s first nationwide automated elections, he said.

House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales said among the preconditions was the amendment of the Omnibus Election Code to make the poll automation process consistent with the election laws of the country.

Gonzales said the lower chamber must “fast track” the approval of the “amendatory law so the Comelec could proceed with the preparations for the 2010 elections.”


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