Teens troop to ComelecBy Juan Escandor Jr. |Inquirer Southern Luzon
NAGA CITY, Philippines—Princess Leonardo, 15, and Judy Ann Carina, 16, giggled when asked why they were excited about their visit to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office here on Monday.
“Wala lang (Nothing in particular),” the cousins said. They posed gamely to show their birth certificates, a requirement for first-time voters in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in their village in Barangay Concepcion Grande.
They were among the 40 teenagers who came almost simultaneously in groups to the Comelec office in the morning to register as SK voters. A mature woman, who did not want to be identified, avoided answering queries if somebody was behind the mobilization.
Another batch of teenagers from Barangay Balatas gathered at the other end of the narrow road in front of the office. Some had already obtained registration forms to fill up.
Jess Balane, who was applying for a transfer of registration, lamented that after more than two hours, he had yet to receive a form to fill up. He arrived at past 7 a.m.
“Things are in disarray. The Comelec should have distributed forms in the barangays before the registration,” he said.
Lawyer Maico Julia, city election officer, explained the procedure. Applicants must appear at the Comelec office for interview and submit documents, such as proof of residency and a valid identification card, before they are given the registration forms.
Those who are 18 years old and above must submit proof of residency and identity or clearance from the police and National Bureau of Investigation while those aged 15-17 years old are required to present a birth or baptismal certificate and proof of residency.
Julia said applicants could also download a form from the Comelec website, fill them up and upon appearance at the Comelec, they could be interviewed and asked to submit requirements.
With five employees, including himself, and seven job trainees from schools in Naga, the Comelec could process at least 250 applicants per day until July 31, he said.