Comelec to study adjustments for 2022 National Elections

Marje Pelayo   •   May 14, 2021   •   250

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) faces a great challenge in the upcoming 2022 National Elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the possible major changes would be the schedule of the candidates’ filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) for the purpose of minimizing crowds and to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Like mayor and vice mayor, they are both single elected positions. Baka mga dalawa o tatlong araw ang para sa kanila. The rest of the filing dates will be for the candidates for the Sangguniang Panlungsod o Sangguniang Bayan,” explained Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Bart Sinocruz.

The Comelec en banc is about to decide whether or not to require candidates to submit a negative COVID-19 test.

The poll body may also issue guidelines on how candidates will conduct campaigns.

Even the presidential debate would possibly be done in hybrid wherein only the presidential candidates are present in the venue.

“Malaki talaga ang impact ng ating covid pandemic but rest assured the comelec is doing its best and kaya naman ng Comelec na gawin ito despite this COVID-19 pandemic,” noted Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo.

The Comelec will resume voter registration on May 17 after the President placed the NCR Plus area under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.

The poll body encourages the public to use the online i-rehistro platform in submitting information before going to the registration sites.

The deadline for registration is on September 30.

Registration venues are open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

“Ultimately kailangan pa ring magpa biometrics so they really have to go to the Comelec offices,” noted Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez.

Based on Comelec data, there are around 58.9 million registered voters expected for next year.

To date, there are about 3.5 million actual new registrants out of the Comelec’s target of 5.5 million individuals. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Election watchdog says COC online filing is good, but fears rise of vote-buying via e-transfer apps

Maris Federez   •   June 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is mulling over online filing of certificates of candidacy for the coming elections after Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez said he will file a bill regarding this amid the pandemic.

Election watchdog, Kontra Daya, said the online filing of COCs is a good alternative, but added that authorities should guarantee the public that transparency will be preserved.

“Dapat pag-aralan  itong panukala na ito may bentahe naman kasi kung gawin ito online kasi yung visual spectable ng parada, pag pumunta ka sa tapat ng Comelec office ay mawawala at saka may risk kasi ng superspreader,” said Danilo Arao, Kontra Daya convener.

“Yung online na pagpa-file sana naman ay magkaroon mekanismo na parang transparent pa rin ‘yong proseso nito. Ang anomang datos na i-fill out sana online sana maging readily available yan sa publiko,” he added.

Kontra Daya also underscored the importance of providing access to independent groups allowing them to monitor and scrutinize pertinent data in the COC form, such as names, party affiliation, and the candidate’s desired position, for  purposes of transparency.

Arao also urges lawmakers to consider the status of the country’s internet connection in their deliberation on the proposed online filing of COCs, recommending a hybrid system wherein areas that have strong internet connection adopt the online filing, while those that have poor connectivity retain the face-to-face filing.

“Sana may paraan yung Comelec na makapagbigay ng mga kiosk o ng anomang mekanismo para atleast kung kinakailangan online yung submission ay may ganung mekanismo pa rin sa mga nagnanais na tumakbo pero walang internet,” he said.

Meanwhile, the group fears that possible vote-buying might still take place, specifically with the use of various electronic transfer applications.

They said gathering evidence on such practices is difficult especially when face accounts are used by the sender and the receiver.

The group also appeals to the public not to compromise their principle and to never let themselves fall prey to vote-buying.

“Yung susing salig talaga dito ay yung voter education ito ‘yong parati naming ginagawa kaya kapag may nag-iimbita sa amin magbigay ng seminar o mga workshop hinggil sa eleksyon  sa mga election hindi po talaga kami tumatanggi,” Arao said. —/mbmf (with details from Dante Amento)

COMELEC to launch mobile registration app on June 15

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A mobile application that aims to streamline the voter registration process will be launched on Tuesday, June 15, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said Monday.

In a statement, COMELEC said the launching of the Mobile Registration Form App will be held in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

The mobile app can be accessed with any smartphone even when offline, the poll body said.

“The launch of the mobile app is very timely in the face of mobility restrictions brought about by COVID-19, because you will only need a smartphone to accomplish the form. This will save time, effort and money that will otherwise be spent on going to a computer shop to download and print the form, or getting the form at the local COMELEC to fill it out manually,” said COMELEC Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, who conceptualized the project.

“A QR Code is generated upon successful accomplishment of the form. You must save the QR Code on your smartphone, and afterwards, you may visit your local COMELEC office to have your QR Code scanned and your biometrics taken,” he added.

The Mobile Registration Form App is downloadable through the link, bit.ly/MobileFormApp. It can also be shared offline from one Android smartphone to another through SHAREit or any other file-sharing application.

Once installed, the user may already apply for voter registration without need for internet connectivity.

COMELEC said that the app was rolled out in select pilot areas at the start of June.

“It is currently being implemented in more than 500 cities and municipalities nationwide, including National Capital Region (NCR), Cebu City and Davao City,” it added.

Steps on using the Mobile Registration Form App:

  • Open the mobile app, and tap “Get Started”
  • Select the desired type of application and tap “Proceed”
  • Input all the necessary personal information
  • Confirm your personal information by ticking the checkbox
  • Tap “Generate QR Code” and “Save” to save it in your phone gallery
  • Bring a valid ID upon visiting your local COMELEC office for your QR Code scanning.

“For any question or clarification about the mobile app, our Voter Care Center hotlines on mobile (+63 927 5595 926), Facebook (facebook.com/comelec.ph) and Twitter (twitter.com/COMELEC) are open to the public,” Spokesperson James Jimenez said.

Duterte may reveal plans for 2022 polls in December – Roque

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may reveal his plans for next year’s elections in December, his spokesperson Harry Roque said on Wednesday.

In a television interview, Roque said the public will likely know whether the president will file his certificate of candidacy when the period for substitution lapses in December.

“He keeps his plans very close to his chest. My advice to everyone is, you can speculate all you want but we’ll find out whether or not he’ll file his certificate of candidacy only in October,” he said.

“We’re not sure if October is the cutoff because there is a period for substitution in sometime December,” he added.

Roque earlier said that the president will “leave to God” the decision on whether to heed calls for him to run for vice president in 2022.

In a separate interview, Duterte said he is resisting calls for vice presidential run as he is “ready for retirement” after his term ends next year.

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