Philippine Government Spends More on Elections than Airports

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has once again called the Philippine government into question once again after the Commission on Elections proposed a budget of P16.8 billion for 2015. According to Recto, the proposed P11.4 billion in new equipment for the Commission on Elections is nineteen times larger than the proposed P592 million for the expansion of Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Image Source: Wikimedia
The Commission on Elections is currently preparing for the next elections and is planning to purchase more than 40,000 counting machines, which according to the senator, is money that could be used for more important infrastructure and services. Recto is calling on the Committee on Finance to research how the cost of holding elections could be reduced. 

The P16.8 billion budget for 2015 is six times higher than the P2.8 billion budget allocated in 2014. According to Recto, it is "a high price we're being told to pay to have clean elections in 2016." He added that the P11.4 billion proposed budget is twenty-eight times the amount that government pays Department of Health doctors and two and a half times the total senior citizens pensions covering 739,000 elderly. 

The Commission on Elections will use P3.76 billion to purchase 41,800 precinct count optical scan machines at a cost of P90,000 each. Meanwhile, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport continues to be ranked as one of the worst airports in the world. Most recently, passengers have been suffering in a number of the terminal buildings due to cramped conditions, long queues, and inadequate cooling systems. In addition, the airport is highly congested and is in need of an additional parallel runway and upgraded navigational equipment. 

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