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Poll chief optimistic Senate will OK budget

Posted on: March 3, 2009

Original post

Comelec welcomes House OK on poll fund

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:29:00 03/03/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Technology (general)

MANILA, Philippines–The Commissions on Elections (Comelec) said on Tuesday it welcomes the approval of the poll automation budget without an amendatory bill required by the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives approved House Bill 5715 or an act appropriating P11.3 billion supplemental budget for automation of the 2010 elections. The bill got a total of 193 votes.

In an interview with reporters, Melo said the approval resolved the contentious issue on the “colatilla,” which has delayed the approval of the budget at the Senate.

During the second hearing of HB 5715, House members included a provision that funds for the appropriations bill will be released only after an amendatory bill or colatilla defining the implementation of poll automated elections is passed.

With the approval of the budget at the Congress, Melo is optimistic the Senate committee on finance will pass the budget during Wednesday’s hearing.

Melo said Senator Edgardo Angara promised that the Senate will fast track the approval of the budget and will not include any additional provisions.

“We will present to the joint oversight committee tomorrow [Wednesday] details on how the Comelec will implement the poll automation project for 2010,” he said.

“We will go for full automation of the 2010 elections so we can modernize for the 21st century,” said Melo.

If the budget gets approved before the Holy Week recess of Congress, Melo said the Comelec will be have be on schedule to prepare for the procurement process and the bidding of voting machines, as well as the voters’ education and training and certification for board of election officers.

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