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Budget constraints delay mailing of OAV ballots

03 May 2019



The delay in the enactment of the 2019 budget has consequently delayed the mailing of official ballots to overseas absentee voters due to lack of funds for stamps.

This means that a good number of overseas Filipino have yet to receive their official ballots for overseas absentee voting from the diplomatic posts in their respective countries.  Overseas voting ends on May 13, the same day for the general balloting.


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“We have to fund more posts para sa stamps. Although we have estimated it, may mga kulang po talaga. Kaya may mga balota pa pong hindi pa name-mail kasi nga kulang ‘yung pondo sa postage,” Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in an interview by GMA 7.

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Guanzon cited the delay in the passage of the P3.757-trillion national budget for the delay in purchase of enough postal stamps for the official ballots.

“As you know, we had to make do with a reenacted budget up to a certain time,” she added.

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Overseas voters have two options to cast their ballots for absentee voting. One is for the voter to go to the Philippine embassy or consulate to cast his or her vote. The other is through the mail, wherein the embassy or the consulate sends the official ballot to the voter, who then mails it back to the diplomatic post.

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James Jimenez, spokesperson of the Comelec, explained that it was the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that should provide funding and purchase the stamps, and that Comelec would later on reimburse the DFA. He said the DFA did not have adequate funding for the stamps. 

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The Comelec en banc has authorized the release of $50,000, equivalent to P2.6 million, in addition to the initial P50 million already released.

“Ang solution ng Comelec is to authorize na mag-advance kami ng pera para mabilhan ng postage. Masolusyonan yon by allowing the posts, in some case ‘yung posts mismo ang mag-aadvance ng pera,” Jimenez said.

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“Tapos ire-reimburse ng Comelec. Again, noong 2016, reimbursement talaga ang style natin kaya hindi tayo nag-provide ng pondo upfront,” he added.

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Both Guanzon and Jimenez expressed confidence that the official ballots would be received by voters abroad, and would be mailed back to the embassies and consulate in time for the last day of overseas absentee voting on May 13.


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