Private think tank joins calls to extend voter registration
MANILA, Philippines — Private think tank Action for Economic Reforms (AER) has joined the growing call urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the voter registration deadline for another month, saying the extraordinary circumstances during the pandemic should require extraordinary adjustments.
The AER said in a statement on Tuesday that the voter registration deadline should be extended until Oct. 31, a month after the current Sept. 30 deadline. In extending the deadline, the AER said the Comelec would be able to address several concerns, including disenfranchising Filipinos who wanted to register but could not because of the prevailing quarantine restrictions.
The AER recalled that when the Comelec said it would stand by the Sept. 30 deadline, the agency reiterated that voter registration could only be conducted in areas under softer quarantine classifications, or those under either a general community quarantine (GCQ) or a modified GCQ (MGCQ).
“But with the extension of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ in many locations, it is likely that many applicants will not be able to meet the original deadline for registration,” it added.
The AER’s statement came days after more than a hundred universities, colleges and even business groups issued a joint statement, urging the Comelec to also extend the deadline until Oct. 31. The groups include some of the country’s top universities as well as some of its most prominent business groups, such as the University of the Philippines, the Makati Business Club and the Management Association of the Philippines.
They appealed to the Comelec to consider the impact of the pandemic in rethinking its position, as well as to recognize the fact that while vaccines have already made it relatively safer for some to go out, the risk is still high for a lot of the unvaccinated, including the youth who are not in the priority sectors for COVID-19 vaccine jabs.
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