Comelec ready for new voters registration
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections is “on track” in its preparations for the registration of about three million new voters nationwide, scheduled from May 6, 2014, to Oct. 31, 2015, according to Comelec Commissioner Al Parreño.
In a text message, Parreño on Tuesday said the poll body was “ready to accommodate new voters” for the 2016 presidential elections.
“We anticipate an influx of newly qualified registrants” in various parts of the country, he added.
Parreño, who is set to replace Commissioner Lucenito Tagle as head of the Comelec committee on overseas voting next February, urged young new voters to “make sure they register.”
“Election issues affect the youth as the outcome of elections will surely impact their lives for years to come,” he emphasized.
He also stressed that “democracy will work best if citizens, young and old, are active in the electoral process.”
For her part, Commissioner Grace Padaca asserted “it is every Filipino’s moral duty to vote for the right leaders of their country…Elections give the people the opportunity to choose who will govern them.”
“However, in order for them to vote, they must first register,” said the former Isabela governor.
Both Padaca and Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said the next voters’ registration program was “big deal” for the poll body since it aims to ensure that more qualified voters will be covered by the nearly 18-month drive.
Aside from young new voters, the Comelec will give “special attention” to persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens and detainees, among others.
Padaca explained that “for the first time, PWDs and senior citizens will be given a choice which polling places are more accessible to them.”
“They will have the option to have their names transferred to a more accessible election precinct where they will be more comfortable,” she said.
“All these are in accordance with the new law, Republic Act No. 10367 (otherwise known as the Act Providing for Mandatory Biometrics Voters Registration),” noted Padaca.
In the 2016 polls, “the rule would be no biometrics, no chance to vote,” she said.
Of the 52.04 million registered voters nationwide, more than 7.3 million have no biometrics, according to Comelec records.
The biometrics data, which consist of digital fingerprints, photo and signature, aim to clean up further the voters’ list.
Earlier, the Comelec announced that its local offices will be open even on Sundays to accommodate voters who will register for the 2016 polls.