MANILA, Philippines ? The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will extend the hours for voters' registration nationwide starting this Thursday until the end of the month to accommodate the surge of ?last-minute? registrants, a spokesman said.
Registration from October 22 to 30 will be from 8 a.m. up to 9 p.m. ? four hours more than the original period of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.
Voters who will enlist on October 31, the registration deadline, will be accommodated from 8 a.m. to 12 midnight, he added.
?We are aware that a lot of Filipinos choose to register at the last minute. To accommodate them and also to address the growing crowds at our field offices as we near the registration deadline, the en banc has ordered the extension of office hours in all registration centers nationwide. Registration is also extended until Sundays in calamity areas of Luzon,? said Jimenez.
He added voters' registration on Sundays, the first on October 18 and the next on October 25, were being implemented for victims of tropical storm ?Ondoy? and typhoon ?Pepeng? in flood-hit areas such as the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol, Cordillera Administrative Region, and National Capital Region.
Registration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will run from Mondays to Sundays from October 19 to 31, he added.
Validation or enrollment of biometrics of registered voters will in turn be suspended to prioritize the applicants for registration, added Jimenez.
?We request registered voters, who wish to check the status of or enroll biometrics, not to flock to our registration centers so that our personnel can focus on processing registration applicants. We will issue a schedule when the validation of biometrics will resume,? he said.
Comelec will deploy 62 additional units of data capturing machines (DCM) to different poll offices in Metro Manila for capturing and validating the biometrics consisting of digital photo, signature and fingerprints of voters, said Jimenez.
Of the 62, about four to seven machines will be allocated for Quezon City offices, which have experienced a ?slowdown? in biometrics capturing and registration due to the high number of applicants registering and enrolling their biometrics, he said.
For queries or additional information, call Comelec education and information department at (02) 525 -9294, 527-0821, 525-0821 or 527-5574 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.