Comelec urged to establish more registration centers - TrueID

Comelec urged to establish more registration centers

Philippine News AgencySeptember 1, 2021

PNA file photo 

MANILA – With the voter registration period nearing the Sept. 30 deadline, the House of Representatives on Wednesday adopted a resolution urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to establish additional satellite registration centers nationwide and overseas.

House Resolution 2168 cited that the ongoing pandemic has become a hindrance to achieve the projected 4 million new registrants as well as the reactivation of the registration of another 1 million voters.

The resolution stressed the need to increase the capacity of the Comelec to accommodate registrants by increasing the number of registration centers nationwide and overseas.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there will be 73 million Filipinos who will be at least 18 years old by May 9, 2022, and out of the 58 million currently registered voters, there are 15 million Filipinos who have yet to be included in the list of voters for next year's election, the resolution noted.

"The upcoming 2022 polls are of primordial importance and significance; due to the fact that in view of the synchronized manner of the upcoming elections, the citizenry are going to vote for both national and local candidates, including their choice for president and vice-president," the resolution read.

The House also enjoined the citizenry with a sense of urgency, especially the youth and first-time voters, to register as soon as possible, and to remind them about the importance of exercising their right to vote.

Eric Alvia, secretary general of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), is supporting the call to extend the voter registration deadline for the 2022 polls in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ.

Alvia it would be "ideal" to extend the registration because many potential voters have yet to register.

“Yes (in favor), at least in those areas that went through MECQ and ECQ. Selective extension,” he said. "We understand why there are calls to extend the deadline for voter registration because a lot of areas have ongoing lockdown and the ECQ and MECQ have suspended the voter registration."

“It would be ideal if we would extend the voter registration but it's also difficult for Comelec to extend it because on Oct. 1 to 8, the Comelec will start receiving the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of those who wish to run for the 2022 elections. If you will extend voter registration, where will you hold the voter registration if the Comelec office will be used to receive COC and Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance,” Alvia said.

Although the schedule is tight, Alvia said it would be better to try and hold all pre-election activities.

“We are on a tight schedule right now but I think the reality is we really have to try to fit all the activities within around 30 days left,” Alvia said.

Some groups are urging the Comelec and the lawmakers to extend the registration period for at least a month to accommodate eligible voters.

However, the Comelec had earlier thumbed down such proposals to extend beyond the Sept. 30 deadline saying it would affect preparations for the May 2022 polls.

Metro Manila and other provinces areas are under MECQ until Sept. 7. (PNA)

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