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Comelec to issue voter's ID after 2010 polls

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:47:00 07/15/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections

MANILA, Philippines ? The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will issue identification cards to over 25 million registered voters after the 2010 elections, a poll official said.

?Of the 48 million registered voters since the 2007 elections, 21.27 million IDs have been released while the rest will be given their IDs after the 2010 elections. Given that the voter's ID is not a requirement to vote, the Comelec has stopped printing the IDs so it can focus in preparations for the 2010 polls,? Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told INQUIRER.net.

Jimenez said the Comelec IT department (ITD), which handles the printing of IDs, was mandated to prioritize the preparations for the upcoming automated elections so voter's ID printing will only resume after the 2010 elections.

According to Ferdinand De Leon, IT officer at Comelec's ITD system operation division, 23 million of the 48 million registered voters in 2007 had biometrics records with Comelec. But of the number, he said 1.3 million are not yet printed due to lack of special paper for the ID and some voters have corrupted biometrics or wrong encoded data.

Another 25 million voters have not been given IDs because they have no biometrics records?or digital specimens of photo, signature, and thumb marks?which are needed for the printing of the IDs, added De Leon.

?Capturing biometrics during voter's registration was only initiated in 2004 so we expect our old-time voters not to have their biometrics yet. At the same time, we urge all voters who have no biometrics to come forward and have their biometrics recorded. The agency plans to process all voter's information in a data bank so in future elections, biometrics can be used to identify a voter,? said Jimenez.

Biometrics can offer a more refined method for cleansing the computerized voter's list (CVL) by locating multiple records of voter's registration throughout the CVL biometrics matching, said De Leon.

Before 2004, Comelec used algorithmic matching to purge the CVL by matching the voter's name and birthday records but De Leon said the method had limitations such that a change in surname for married women or even misspelling in encoded data will make it hard for Comelec to detect multiple records.

De Leon said the Comelec will acquire by August additional 2,000 biometrics data capturing machines for P1 billion to augment the 600 units it acquired in 2003, thus allowing all municipalities nationwide to have at least one DCM unit.

Voters previously issued with IDs but have applied for correction of information such as change in surname for married women, which also affects the digital signature specimen, will be issued IDs again, said De Leon.

The breakdown of issued voter's ID per region are: Cordillera Administrative Region-153,578, Ilocos Region-359,966, Cagayan Valley-94,599, Central Luzon-3,401,605, Calabarzon-3,810,303, Mimaropa-208,494, Bicol Region-228,798, Western Visayas-1,661,099, Central Visayas-1,631,866,
Eastern Visayas-93,175, Zamboanga Peninsula-506,038, Northern Mindanao-1,083,125, Davao Region-779,180, Soccsksargen-1,100,111, Caraga-287,040, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-1,907,348, Metro Manila-3,497,411, and overseas absentee voters-405,341.



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