Comelec launches ‘Register Anywhere’
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is tapping into the Filipinos’ mall-going culture to promote its Register Anywhere Program (RAP) as part of efforts to enlist up to three million more voters for next year’s polls.
Filinvest Malls on Wednesday became the first mall chain in the country to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Comelec to enhance the efficiency of the voter registration process, prioritizing accessibility and community involvement.
Comelec Chair George Garcia and Tristan Las Marias, president and chief executive officer of Filinvest Land Inc., signed the agreement at Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
“We look forward to the successful implementation of this project which I believe will provide support and convenience for the Filipino community. We understand the value that the RAP contributes to the Filipino electorate—the convenience of it all, the practicality, the accessibility extended to all Filipinos to register anywhere and be served by Comelec anywhere,” Las Marias said.
Las Marias said about 50 square meters of space enough for five to seven RAP stations would be provided at Festival Mall.
Aside from Festival Mall, RAP sites will also be set up in key Filinvest Mall locations such as Main Square in Bacoor City, Fora Mall in Tagaytay City, and IL Corso in Cebu City.
Garcia said the program was intended to improve voters’ experience to encourage them to participate in elections, noting that most local Comelec offices were small and experienced lengthy queues of people wanting to register especially in the final days of the registration period.
“Not only new registrants will be accommodated. We also included in the RAP those transferring their registration and correcting their registration data. You can do these in Metro Manila even if you come from the province [and vice versa],” Garcia added.
More venues lined up
The Comelec chief said more RAP sites would be opened in other malls, churches, universities and national government agencies with the start on Feb. 12 of the voter registration period for the 2025 national and local elections.
The RAP hosts would decide the specific days when the registration stations would be open and Comelec would announce the schedules, the chair said, with the stations in the malls most likely to be open on Saturdays.
The poll body earlier declared Feb. 12 as “National Voter’s Day,” with Comelec offices nationwide expected to conduct various activities to entertain the registrants, pique the interest of their constituents to encourage them to register, and spread awareness about voter registration.
On Feb. 12, Comelec will set up a special RAP site at Plaza Roma in Intramuros, Manila, at Baclaran Church in Parañaque City, and other locations nationwide.
A registration activity would also be held on the same day in the municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan facing the West Philippine Sea, Garcia said.
The poll body will also join the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, specifically the Grand Floral Float Parade on Feb. 25, to step up its promotion of the voter registration and encourage residents and tourists alike to register.
Comelec ID system
A Filipino who is at least 18 years of age on Election Day (May 12, 2025), a resident of the Philippines for at least a year and in the place wherein he/she proposes to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the 2025 polls, and not otherwise disqualified by law, can register as a voter.
All that would-be registrants need to bring is at least one government ID or school ID for students.
The registration period ends on Sept. 30, 2024.
Meanwhile, Garcia said the commission was “seriously considering” coming out with its own ID system to speed up transactions.
He said part of the Comelec budget has been realigned for the ID project, with overseas voters being the initial beneficiaries.
The ID project would be decided “hopefully before the end of the year,” Garcia said, adding that the commission en banc would talk about the specifics and how much funds would be needed.