Comelec fears slow turnout of registrants amid Duterte’s call to postpone SK, barangay polls
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for the postponement of the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections may result to a slow turnout of applicants at the start of the voter registration.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson James Jimenez said this nearly two weeks after the President called on Congress to postpone the said elections for another two years.
“Bago pa sinabi ng Pangulo ‘yan, marami nang ugong-ugong tungkol diyan. I guess nagkaroon na rin tayo ng pagkakataon na ma-absorb ‘yong gano’ng klaseng balita so hindi na tayo nagulat. Ang concern na lang namin ngayon talaga [ay] una, ‘yong paniniwalang hindi matutuloy ang halalan eh magkakaroon ng impact yan sa dami ng magpaparehistro na mga kabataan,” Jimenez said in a press briefing as the resumption of the voter registration begins on Thursday.
“Unfortunately…isa sa mga nakikitang trend natin na kapag walang kasiguraduhan’yong darating na halalan, medyo bumababa ang dami ng nagpa-parehistro…While we might see a sort of slow build up of registered voters [at the start of the registration], I think that in the end, everything will balance out,” he added.
While he expressed concern over the possible slow down of voter registration, Jimenez said it would not be a “major problem.”
“Because in effect what will happen is dadami lang sila sa dulo, pag nagsiksikan na sila ‘pag magsasara na ‘yonng registration period,” he said.
“Having said that, patuloy ‘yong aming campaign to educate voters to make sure that they will still go out and register,” he added.
The Comelec spokesperson further noted that a possible postponement of the barangay and SK elections is always “at the back of our minds” and said the poll body would continue with its preparations for the upcoming elections.
“‘Yong epekto ng ganyang klaseng announcement, of course, is that, kami sa Comelec, we sort of tend to react to that as well. Obviously, hindi kami pwedeng mag-stop ng preparations natin…pero it’s always in the back of our minds,” he said.
“We’re proofing our procedures so that in case lumabas ‘yong postponement eh hindi naman tayo masyadong ma-compromise diyan,” he added.
With such concerns, should the President keep mum with regards to the postponement of elections?
Jimenez does not think so.
“Maganda nga na nasi-signal sa atin kung ano ‘yong immediate future natin para makapag-react din tayo,” he said.
“Mas mahirap siguro ‘yong handa [tayo nang] handa tapos biglang putol, parang mas masakit siguro ‘yon sa mga botante natin,” he added.
The President had previously signed into law Republic Act 10952 postponing the Oct. 23, 2017 barangay and SK elections until the second Monday of May 2018.
This also scheduled the next synchronized barangay and SK elections on the second Monday of May 2020 and every three years thereafter.
Relative to this, the Comelec on July 18, 2019, promulgated Resolution No. 10549 or the rules and regulations on the resumption of the system of continuing registration of voters for the 2020 barangay and SK elections. /jpv
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