Comelec mulls exempting big-ticket gov't projects from election spending ban

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The poll body's spokesperson, James Jimenez, says they have yet to receive the request.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 2) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it is looking into exempting some of the government's big-ticket infrastructure projects from the spending ban during the 2019 midterm elections.

"Normally ang ine-exempt natin ay 'yung mga project na nasimulan na [What we exempt are those projects which already began], and then also soft projects -- 'yung (may) mga humanitarian reasons. So again like I indicated to you earlier, we're going to have to look into the specifics of the request to see what exactly is being asked for," Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a press briefing Friday.

Jimenez said they have yet to receive the request, which would reportedly come from Malacañang according to the economic managers.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia first floated the idea on Monday, citing the need to meet government targets. Pernia sought a blanket exemption for the projects.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said he is confident the Comelec will approve the request covering at least 75 infrastructure projects, although he agreed the projects to be exempted need to be specified.

The Comelec will enforce a ban on construction of public works, as well as the release, disbursement and expenditure of public funds in line with the May 13 polls from March 29 to May 12, 2019 under Comelec Resolution 10429.