Lawmaker proposes listing of projects exempted from election ban spending


The chairman of the House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation on Thursday proposed that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be furnished with an advance notice on projects exempted from the ban on election period spending.

Rep. Frederick Siao of Iligan City said the Comelec should exempt those select few projects deserving of exemption because of the urgent need to meet deadlines and to address critical public service necessities.

“I am quite aware of the election period spending ban that comes with the 2022 elections. Still undisbursed SRA [special risk allowance], compensation, and benefits of health-care frontliners must be among those exempted,” he said.

“The health-care frontliners will not accept election spending ban excuses. Also unacceptable would be excuses covering education funds for scholarships, financial assistance, remote learning, limited face-to-face classes and for classrooms to be reopened fully in the next school year,” he added.  Siao also suggested to the agencies to give Comelec the heads up or an advance word on which projects would most certainly fall within the election spending ban period.

“For those the spending ban would be unavoidably affect, government agencies should instead maximize the weeks before the spending ban and the months after the ban. If they must work in three shifts to cover a 24/7 cycle, they should so that the jobs get done well, on time, no delays,” he said.

“As we count down the last  nine weeks of year 2021, I appeal to the various executive agencies to double time or triple time on spending their 2021 and carryover 2020 funds, so that the Filipino people will derive maximum gain from those public funds,” he added.

With the gradual reopening of the economy now in November and December, Siao said government agencies now have the chance to do much better than they have in the past 10 months when pandemic curbs were imposed.

“Instead of declaring any yet-unspent funds as savings or returning them to the National Treasury, those should be spent on the originally-intended projects, programs, and services. They should not be for later release at this point because there is no more later after the 9 weeks ahead of us,” he said.

“Best efforts must be taken to fill the still unfilled or vacant personnel positions budgeted for hiring this year. Please do not delay hiring because that means funds unspent and service not rendered to the people,” the lawmaker added.

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