House body okays bill upgrading Comelec field offices

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The House Committee on Appropriations recommended the approval in plenary of House Bill (HB) 10026 which seeks to strengthen the field offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) by upgrading and creating certain positions that will translate to effective and efficient delivery of services by the poll body.

HB 10026 was authored by Benguet caretaker congressman and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Yap and will soon be transmitted to the House Committee on rules chaired by Majority Floor Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez for scheduling of the plenary debates for the same.

Yap, who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations, stated that the panel approved the unnumbered substitute bill which will consolidate all bills related to the aforesaid measure and it is hoped to hurdle the plenary deliberations despite failing to do so in previous Congresses.

He pointed out that the measure seeks to strengthen the Comelec field offices by reclassifying, upgrading, and creating positions, amending for the purpose Section 53 of Batas Pambansa 881, or the Omnibus Election code as amended.

Mula sa pagpaparehistro ng mga botante hanggang sa paghahanda para sa maayos at mapayapang eleksyon, hanggang sa matapos ang halalan, ang punong abala dito ay ang Commission on elections lalo na ang mga field offices. Sila ang backbone ng ating democratic exercise. Nakasalalay sa kanila ang buong proseso ng pagboto ng ating mga susunod na public servants but they are grossly underpaid under own,” Congressman yap stressed.

Despite the ongoing budget deliberations at the plenary of the House, the House Appropriations Committee chaired by Congressman Yap ensured its passage in the committee.

“Noong 14th Congress pa yata ito isinusulong, and admittedly, I wasn’t aware of their plight until I myself heard of it through dialogues and meetings with the field personnel. It’s about time, this is long overdue,” Yap stated.

The Benguet caretaker congressman asserted that the sense of urgency is very strong that is why the House Committee on Appropriations pushed for its passage at the committee level amidst the ongoing budget deliberations that tend to pre-occupy most of the congressmen.

He assured Comelec field office personnel that he will lobby for the immediate approval of the bill in plenary so that it will be passed the soonest and will be subsequently transmitted to the Senate for the passage of the required counterpart bill.

“Like I said, this bill should have been approved before and I don’t see any reason why we don’t do it now. Elections are fast approaching and their job is about to get harder with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation, we want to give them a decent pay commensurate to their mandate of protecting the sacred right of our people to vote and actively participate in safeguarding our democracy,” Congressman yap exclaimed.

The lawmaker called on the Comelec field personnel to continue performing their assigned duties and responsibilities to the best of their ability to ensure the conduct of an honest, orderly and peaceful elections next year and to ensure that the voice of the people on who will be the next set of public servants will prevail is it will be the future of the country that will be at stake. By HENT