MANILA, Philippines — It would be in the best interest of the government to postpone the scheduled barangay elections this December and rechannel its P8-billion budget to pandemic response and economic recovery efforts, Sen. Manny Pacquiao said in Tarlac City the other day.
“First, we will be having our presidential elections on May 9. In this alone, how much will the government be spending? I don’t think it’s good for us to push through with the barangay elections as this will only worsen our expenditures,” said Pacquiao as he brought his presidential campaign to Central Luzon.
“Remember we are still in the period of recovery. We haven’t recovered yet. It would be a waste of government resources if we spend the P8 billion just for the holding of the barangay elections this December,” added the Promdi Party standard-bearer.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will reportedly receive a total of P26.69 billion as it prepares for the holding of the national and local elections on May 9 and the barangay polls later this year.
But Pacquiao said the country will need more cash for COVID-19 response and recovery programs and cited how the P8-billion budget allotted for the barangay elections could go a long way in aiding Filipinos most adversely affected by the pandemic.
If elected president, he vowed to ask the 19th Congress (2022-2025) to pass a measure to reschedule the barangay elections.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao is ready to offer a cash reward for the arrest of swindlers behind the production and sale of bogus ID cards to his supporters in Pampanga.
While making his rounds of Candaba, Pampanga last Tuesday, the senator learned that a person posing as a member of his campaign team had tricked dozens of residents into buying the IDs on the pretext that it was needed for them to secure cash and groceries during his visit.
In a press conference in Tarlac City, Pacquiao said: “I will have the people doing this arrested. If you don’t reveal yourselves, I will be forced to offer a reward to have you arrested.”
The Candaba police said the case has already been referred to them. – Neil Jayson Servallos