Due to budgetary constraints, there will be no new vote counting machines (VCM) for the general elections in 2022 according to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
In a Senate budget hearing, COMELEC Chairman Sheriff Abas reported that VCMs used during the 2016 and 2019 polls will be refurbished instead of purchasing new ones.
“From what I know, there is a budget ceiling, budget fiscal space being implemented by the Department of Budget and Management. Based on their budget space, they can no longer accommodate our request for a P30-billion budget for 2021,” Abas said.
“Iyong bago siyempre, iyon yung mga may mga upgrading na gagamitin naming kapag bago iyong machines na ili-lease naming. Sa durability, mas maganda. Siyempre nga naisip naming na Presidential itong 2022, mas mainam san ana bago ang gagamitin natin,” Abas said.
[We will use the latest ones. Those are the upgraded ones that we will use if the machines we will lease are brand news. In terms of durability, Its good. For us, we think that it would be better to use brand new machines, especially that it is the presidential elections in 2022.]
The amount needed for the refurbishment of existing VCMs amounts to ₱1 billion, Abas said.
The commission is also hoping to lease additional 20,000 VCMs in 2022 in anticipation of more voters and high turnout, noting that an additional budget is necessary for this.