Comelec to find new citizen’s arm for May polls after Namfrel withdrawal

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2019   •   1270

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday expressed confidence that it will be able to find a new citizen’s arm after the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) withdrew with less than a week before the May National and Local elections.

Namfrel last week pulled out of its accreditation as citizen watchdog after the poll body denied its request for full access to open election information and data, which they said were intended to be used for in-depth analysis.

Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said the poll body’s reason for not granting the Namfrel access to open election data may have been for security reasons as it is already beyond its role as citizen’s arm.

Jimenez said they are still open to any possible discussion with Namfrel but stressed that they will not force the group in taking its poll duty.

He is also positive that they will be able to find other coalition to conduct random manual audit of the election results.

“If the COMELEC goes into direction of finding a Namfrel equivalent then I’m pretty sure that a lot of organizations are willing to step up,” he said.

Jimenez also assured that Namfrel’s withdrawal will not cause any delay in the conduct of the midterm elections, adding that the deployment of all official ballots and other election paraphernalia are already complete.

The Comelec official also said that the final testing and sealing (FTS) of 85,000 vote-counting machines to be used on May 13 polls have already begun on Monday (May 6).

This is to ensure that VCMs are properly functioning and can correctly count the votes. The process will last until the eve of elections on May 12.

An end-to-end test of the voting process will be conducted during the FTS – from the initialization of the machines to the voting, to the feeding of the marked ballots to the machines until the printing of election returns.

The final testing and sealing process will also test the transmission system to address any issues prior to the election day.

“So far, no reports yet of any untoward findings for the FTS but then again it is just the start of the FTS period so will see what happens,” Jimenez said.

After the process, the Comelec will then seal and lock the machines and will only be opened during the start of the elections.

The poll body assured they have prepared 7,000 VCMs as contingency, which will be deployed to provincial election supervisors. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Voter registration in Taal eruption-affected areas to resume on Feb. 3 – Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The voter registration in Batangas and Cavite areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano will resume on Monday, February 3, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Thursday.

In a statement, Comelec said the voter registration for the 2022 elections will resume in the following places in Batangas province due to a return to normal working conditions:

  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • San Nicolas
  • Sta. Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay
  • Cuenca
  • Lipa City
  • Tanauan City
  • Balayan
  • Calaca
  • Kalatagan
  • Tuy
  • San Luis
  • Mabini
  • Lian
  • Malvar

In Cavite, the poll body said that registration of voters will also resume in Alfonso, Indang, Silang, Tagaytay City, and Amadeo.

Meanwhile, the voter registration in the municipality of Mataas na Kahoy in Batangas will resume on February 10, according to Comelec.

The poll body earlier announced the suspension of the registration in areas within and beyond the 14-kilometer danger zone of Taal Volcano during its eruption.

Voter registration resumes Jan. 20, except in Taal-hit areas — Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday announced that the voter registration for the 2022 presidential elections will resume nationwide on Monday, January 20, except in some areas in Batangas and Cavite that were affected by the ongoing eruption of Taal Volcano.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said voter registration in municipalities and towns of Batangas located within the immediate danger zone and other areas surrounding the Taal Volcano will be suspended.

These places include:

  • Agoncillo
  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • Mataas na Kahoy
  • San Nicolas
  • San Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay

Voter registration will also be suspended in the following localities outside Taal zone but still affected by ashfall, earthquakes, impassable roads and power interruptions:

  • Balayan, Batangas
  • Cuenca, Batangas
  • Lian, Batangas
  • Mabini, Batangas
  • Mabini, Batangas
  • San Luis, Batangas
  • Tuy, Batangas
  • Tagaytay, Cavite
  • Alfonso, Cavite
  • Amadeo, Cavite
  • Indang, Cavite
  • Silang, Cavite

Jimenez said the resumption of the voter registration in areas affected by Taal Volcano unrest will be “contingent on the ability of those places to recover and return to normalcy.”

Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, which signifies an imminent hazardous explosion, despite decreasing emissions. The volcano belched ash and smoke last Sunday, January 12, which sent thousands of residents scrambling to safety.

Aside from these areas, Comelec said the resumption of voter registration will also be deferred in Makilala, North Cotabato which was hit by a strong earthquake last December 2019.

Registration is also postponed in 24 municipalities in Palawan province to give way to the May 11, 2020 plebiscite on the proposal to split the province into three areas.

As for the rest of the country, the poll body said the application and updating of records will be done at the Office of the Election Officer from Mondays to Saturdays including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age on or before election day or on May 9, 2022; a resident of the Philippines for at least one year; and must have lived in the place where he or she intends to vote for at least six months on or before election day.

The registration period will run until September 30, 2021, except on the following dates:

  • April 9, 2020 (Maundy Thursday)
  • April 10, 2020 (Good Friday)
  • December 25, 2020 (Christmas Day)
  • April 1, 2021 (Maundy Thursday)
  • April 2, 2021 (Good Friday)

Comelec also said that registered voters as of May 13, 2019 midterm elections need not apply anew.

DFA calls on deactivated overseas voters to re-register for 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

 (FILE) Filipino household workers who were repatriated from Kuwait show their documents as they arrive at Manila’s international airport, Philippines, 21 February 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday called on overseas Filipino workers (OFW)to re-register in order to vote in the 2022 Presidential elections.

The DFA made the call following information from its overseas voting secretariat that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it deactivated a total of 578,185 overseas voters for failing to participate in the last national and local elections in 2016 and 2019.

The DFA said deactivated overseas voters may re-register when registration opens from December 16, 2019 to September 30, 2021 at the following areas:

  • Any Philippine Embassy, Consulate General, Mission, or Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO)

The DFA said that all Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad from April 9 to May 9, 2022 during the overseas voting period for the 2022 Presidential Elections, and are at least 18 years old on May 9, 2022 and not otherwise disqualified by law, may register as an overseas voter at the said locations.

OFWs, as well as immigrants, seafarers and students who are about to leave for abroad and are not yet registered as overseas voters may also register on the said dates.

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