Schools, organizations ask Comelec to extend voter registration for 2022 polls
MANILA, Philippines — A number of schools and organizations nationwide have asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reconsider suggestions to extend the voter registration period for the 2022 national elections.
In a joint statement, the schools and organizations, which include the University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, urged the Comelec extend the registration period which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The registration period for the 2022 elections will be until September 30, 2021, but groups and even public officials are calling on Comelec to extend the deadline.
“We, the undersigned, respectfully ask the [Comelec] to reconsider its earlier decision to keep the voter registration deadline at September 30, 2021, and instead appeal for its extension by one month to October 31, 2021, when public quarantine conditions shall have been relaxed and people can move about in somewhat greater safety,” the schools and organizations said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding community quarantines of the past 18 months – particularly their concomitant adverse effects on health and livelihood – have posed innumerable, exigent, basic-needs challenges to our people as never before. Pressed by anxiety over immediate existential concerns, many Filipinos have not been afforded the time and mental leeway to register to vote,” the group added.
The Comelec, however, pointed out that extending the registration period would cause a domino effect as delaying one aspect of the whole suffrage process would end in delaying major aspects of the upcoming elections.
Instead, what the poll body did was to extend voter registration hours, while opening offices on Saturdays and holidays.
But the schools and organizations noted that voter registration in the past elections was held until October 31, adding that the pandemic could be enough reason for the extension.
“The progress in the rate of vaccination, while encouraging, is fairly recent and fails to address the risks for the majority. In particular, it fails to assuage the health concerns of the many millions of younger would-be voters who are not among the priority sectors for vaccination,” the group said.
Aside from UST, UP, DLSU and Ateneo, the other schools and organizations calling for the extension of the voter registration period are:
- Adamson University
- Baliuag University
- Bicol University
- Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines
- Central Luzon College of Science and Technology,
- Centro Escolar University
- Far Eastern University
- Filipina CEO Circle
- Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines
- Finex Research and Development Foundation Inc.
- Fintech Alliance PH
- Jose Rizal University
- Lyceum of the Philippines University
- Makati Business Club
- Management Association of the Philippines
- Manuel S. Enverga University
- Miriam College
- National Teachers College
- Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities
- Philippine Normal University
- Philippine Women’s University
- Rizal College of Laguna
- Saint Louis University
- St. Jude College
- Siliman University
- The Manila Times College
- University of Asia and the Pacific
- University of Perpetual Help System Dalta
- University of the East
- Women’s Business Council Philippines
As of Friday, the Department of Health has reported that the country now has 175,470 active COVID-19 cases after recording 17,964 new infections. This comes as the country is still experiencing a surge in cases brought by the more infectious Delta variant.
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