PRINTING of additional 18 million ballots for the coming barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or Youth Council) elections has pushed through despite strong indications from a leaders of Congress that the two polls would again be postponed.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman James Jimenez said the additional ballots were for new voters who registered during the 25-day continuing registration held last November 2017 and also for voters of Mindanao in southern Philippines.
The printing of the new ballots for Mindanao, he explained, was necessitated by a recent ruling of the Comelec en banc that the synchronized village and youth elections will push through as scheduled in the whole of Mindanao, except Marawi City (Lanao del Sur), in spite of the one-year extension of martial law in the whole of Mindanao.
On September 5, 2017, the Comelec en banc suspended the twin polls in the whole of Mindanao because of the
Marawi crisis, which forced President Duterte to impose military rule in the region.
With the suspension, no ballots were printed for the entire Mindanao area.
The scheduled October 2017 elections were eventually postponed to May 2018.
The printing of the 18 million new ballots started February 15.
The National Printing Office is capable of printing 800,000 ballots a day and up to one million at optimum capacity.
The Comelec will use the already printed October 23, 2017 official ballots, accountable and non-accountable forms for purposes of the May 14, 2018 village and SK elections in an effort to save public funds and government resources.
Under Resolution 10248, voters in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), Luzon and Visayas
regions will be using the 59,578,346 official ballots that were printed from August 9, 2017 to September 30, 2017.
To avoid confusion, these ballots will bear October 23, 2017 as the date of the elections.
The ballots and accountable and non-accountable forms being printed for the Mindanao region, however, will bear May 14, 2018 as the date of the elections.
Earlier, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said he had already filed a bill seeking to again postpone the village and SK polls this May to coincide with the planned plebiscite for the proposed Constitution for a federal
form of government.