2 Cordillera lawmakers back bill hiking campaign expenses

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BAGUIO CITY  – Two Cordillera lawmakers supported the decision of majority of the members of the House of Representatives approving on third and final reading House Bill (HB) 6095 that seeks to increase the allowed campaign expenditures of candidates and political parties for every registered voter into the constituency where they filed their certificates of candidacy.

Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, who chairs the House committee on national cultural minorities and indigenous peoples, admitted that he was not able to cast his vote for the bill because of the alleged weak internet signal in the area where he was situated when the voting for the passage of the bill was done but he was inclined to support the same because of its direct and indirect contribution in stimulating the heavily impacted national and local economy.

He pointed out that increasing the allowed campaign expenses of candidates in both the national and local levels is timely because the prevailing allowed campaign expenses based on the provisions of the Omnibus election code is already outdated.

Mangaoang added that the proposed increase in the campaign expenses will also provide an avenue for candidates to be transparent on their election expenses unlike what had been happening in the past that numerous politicians had been allegedly under or mis-declaring their expenses during the duration of the election period.

The Kalinga lawmaker asserted that allowing the increase in the campaign expenses of politicians will also compel candidates to be realistic in the declaration of their election expenses in their statement of election contributions and expenses filed with the Commission on elections (COMELEC) one month after the conduct of national and local elections.

Under the proposed law, candidates for president, vice president and senators will be allowed to spend P50 for every registered voter from the previous P10 for president and vice president and P3 for senators.

For candidates vying for district representatives, governors, vice governors, boardmembers, city and municipal mayors, city and municipal vice mayors and city and municipal councilors will be allowed maximum expenses of P30 per registered voter from the previous P3.

Further, national candidates of political parties will be allowed campaign expenses of P50 while local candidates of political parties will be allowed P30 for every registered voter.

Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Y. Dalog, Jr., who voted in favor of HB 6095, disclosed that it is high time to introduce the needed changes in the old election laws, particularly on the allowed campaign expenses, because the same had already become obsolete and no longer in conformity with the prevailing economic situation.

He cited that there had been numerous changes that transpired in the country’s election history over the past two decades since the enactment of the Omnibus Election code that is why the approval of the bill on third reading is a breakthrough in the history of the conduct of elections.

Dalog is one of the 13 213 lawmakers who voted for the approval of the bill allowing the increase in the campaign expenses of candidates during the regular session of the House recently.

By Hent