Embedded in the 2024 General Appropriations Act is the total amount of about P14-B for the “Conduct and supervision of elections, referenda, recall votes and plebiscites”, P12-B of which was inserted by the bicameral conference committee under the budget of the Commission of Elections.
The appropriations for these activities in the 2023 GAA was only P2-B, which was increased by about 700% this year.
The huge allocation of P14-B is bigger than the appropriations for the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) with a total appropriation of P9,896,172,000.00; Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – P8,638,218,000.00; Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) – P8,081,067,000.00; Ombudsman – 5,5334,721,000,00; Department of Tourism (DoT) – P3,439,715,000.00; and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DSHUD) – P3,307,520,000.00.
The proposed people’s initiative, which is virtually a congressional initiative, will make the voting in the constituent assembly of representatives and senators a joint voting which would fast track the approval of proposed amendments to the Constitution since the more numerous Representatives would overwhelm the Senators.
It would be recalled that the Senate has been the graveyard for proposals to amend the Constitution.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN