Comelec urged to expand satellite voter’s registration, buy more biometric scanners

Robie de Guzman   •   February 8, 2021   •   416

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to expand its satellite voters’ registration program and purchase more biometric scanners in order to facilitate a speedy voter’s registration.

In a statement, Drilon stressed that Congress has allotted sufficient funds to the Comelec under the 2020 and 2021 national budgets and that the poll body should use it to “buy more biometric gadgets, hire more consultants or job order employees and even rent out a bigger space or venue of voter registration.”

“Huwag na po nating tipirin ang budget. Kung kailangan dalhin sa bawat barangay ang voters’ registration, the Comelec must do it,” he said.

The senator said the lack of sufficient biometric scanner further slows down the registration process.

“Even if people go to the Comelec office to register, the Comelec has no capacity to accommodate a large number of applicants per day for a number of reasons, which include insufficient manpower and inadequate number of biometric scanners,” he said.

He also noted the lack of bigger Comelec offices in all districts to accommodate a large number of applicants.

Drilon believes that installing satellite voter registration sites is a solution within the law that the poll body should maximize and use efficiently to increase voters for the 2022 national and local elections.

The senator pointed out that due to COVID-19 health protocols, Comelec offices in the country have to limit the number of registrants they could accommodate in a day.

Citing Comelec data, Drilon said there are still three million new voters to be registered and seven million who need to renew their registration because they have not voted in the last two elections.

“There is no way the Comelec can reach its target number of voters for next year’s election at that rate of 50 to 70 registrants per day. We are running out of time. COMELEC should intensify its efforts to install more registration sites,” he said.

Drilon said the poll body can organize satellite registration in open courts, churches, schools with safety protocols followed to cover more applicants.

He also urged the commission to consider putting more than one satellite registration sites for cities with voting big populations.

“They can coordinate with the homeowner’s association to open their clubhouse or basketball courts for the registration. They can coordinate with the churches to open their doors. The National Secretariat of Social Action had offered to facilitate opening up of the Churches,” he added.

Comelec should hire more people to manage the satellite registration all over the country, he added.

“Let’s hire those IT people who lost their jobs. They know how to operate biometric machines. It can generate income for them for at least three to four months. They can be accompanied by a Comelec civil servant who can supervise the operation,” Drilon said.

Comelec earlier said it has extended the registration hours for new voters, opening its offices even on Saturdays to encourage more registrants.

The poll body said it is also eyeing the implementation of barangay satellite registration to accommodate more applications but added that it would depend on the contamination rate in the area.

Teachers group calls on Comelec to provide proper compensation during elections

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Partylist is asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for compensation raise and safety and welfare measures for the service of teachers during the 2022 national elections.

In a statement, the teachers’ group said they wrote a letter addressed to Comelec to request for an “online dialogue to discuss its proposals for ensuring ‘just compensation, safety, and the overall well-being’ of poll workers in the precinct level, majority of whom being public school teachers.”

The group proposed an honorarium of P10,000 for the chairperson, P9,000 for members, P8,000 for Department of Education Supervisor Officials (DESO), and P7,000 for the staff.

ACT also pressed for a P2,500 food allowance and a P3,000 transportation allowance for those assigned within the city proper and P5,000 for those in remote areas.

ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio said public school teachers have complained over unjust compensation and inhumane treatment of poll workers. Several of them rendered over 24 hours of service during the previous election.

Basilio also noted that with the effects of the pandemic, Comelec should also ensure the health and safety of the poll workers.

“They are the backbone and front liners of every election, and the government must exhaust measures to guarantee they are being subjected to a fair labor environment and granted proper compensation,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Comelec resumes issuance of voter’s certification on May 10

Marje Pelayo   •   May 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec)  will resume the issuance of voter’s certification on Monday (May 10) in its head office in Intramuros, Manila.

In a statement, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said: “Registered voters nationwide may apply for a voter’s certification from Mondays to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4;30 p.m. at the Comelec’s National Central File Division (NCFD) satellite office, located at the back of Chowking in FEMI Building, Extension Cabildo Street cor A. Soriano Avenue, Intramuros, Manila.”

The public is advised that application for the issuance of voter certification are by appointment only.

Likewise, the no face mask, no face shield policy  is strictly imposed within the Comelec premises to ensure the safety of the public, “even while the NCR (National Capital Region) Plus remains under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.”

Here are the steps on how to apply for a voter’s certification:

1. Set an appointment via the Facebook page of the Comelec-NCFD accessible through this link:(bit.ly/NCFDFBPage)

2. Go to bit.ly/OnlineVoterCertificationApplication and fill out the online voter certification request form. Clicking “submit” will automatically forward the completed form to the Comelec.

3. An appointment confirmation slip will be emailed by Comelec to the applicant. The applicant should print out the appointment slip.

4. Go to the Comelec-NCFD satellite office on the appointed date and time. Present the appointment slip and other documentary requirements. Proceed to payment and await release of the voter’s certification.

On the day of the appointment, the Comelec reminded the public on the following:
1. At the Comelec-NCFD satellite office, present one valid ID. Submit a photocopy of the same ID.

2. Pay the P75 fee.

3. An authorized representative bearing an authorization letter may transact on behalf of the applicant. The representative must have a valid ID and a photocopy of the same ID.

The Comelec also noted that the “voter’s certification is free of charge for senior citizens, persons with disability, members of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Cultural Communities, and solo parents.”

Voter registration in NCR Plus, other MECQ areas remain suspended — Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The voter registration and voter’s certification remain suspended in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus and other areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced.

In an advisory on Sunday, Comelec said the voter registration and the issuance of voter’s certification in the NCR Plus remain suspended from May 1 to 14.

The National Capital Region and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna – collectively called NCR Plus – are under extended MECQ until May 14.

The areas of Santiago City in Isabela, Abra, and Quirino were placed under MECQ until May 31.

Comelec said voter registration and the issuance of voter’s certification will also be suspended in the same period.

“For the duration of the MECQ in NCR Plus and other areas, the Comelec Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) in Intramuros, Manila will be attending exclusively to voter registration applicants with urgent travel needs,” the poll body said.

The poll body further said that voter registration and issuance of voter’s certification in the rest of the country under general community quarantine or modified GCQ will be open from Mondays to Thursdays.

COMELEC said OFOV may be reached via its official social media account, email address, and contact numbers +639050341558 or +639518759882.

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