Senate approves bill extending voter registration for 1 month

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2021   •   208

MANILA, Philippines—The Senate on Monday (September 27) approved on third and final reading a bill extending voter registration by 30 days.

Senate Bill No. 2408, an Act Extending the Registration of Voters for the 2022 National and Local Elections, was unanimously approved by all senators and agreed that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) needed to be compelled to move the deadline after its continued rejection of the proposal.

Senator Miguel Zubiri, main sponsor of the bill, said there is no need for a bicameral meeting as the Senate will adopt the House of Representatives’ version of the bill. He added that the final version will be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature.

“Hopefully the President will sign this request,” Zubiri said.

The extension of voter registration, according to Zubiri,  would prevent the disenfranchisement of about 12 million eligible voters.

In the bill’s explanatory note, the senators stressed that almost six months of the registration period was lost when strict lockdowns were imposed during the pandemic. More days were lost too when areas were reverted back to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)or modified ECQ.

Comelec set the voter registration deadline to September 30, which was before the pandemic, the senators said.

“In this connection, Comelec could not have anticipated the adverse impact of the pandemic on voter registration and must make the necessary adjustments to allow more unregistered potential voters to register. In fact, voter registration was suspended several times due to the adverse effect of Covid-19,” the senators added. AAC

 

 

Comelec en banc to tackle calls to extend overseas voter registration

Maris Federez   •   October 18, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc is set to discuss on Wednesday the recommendation to extend the overseas voter registration that ended on October 14.

Some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) said they still have not registered due to the limited days that they are free from work.

Senator Imee Marcos said many OFWs, particularly in Hong Kong and Macau who confused the deadline set for overseas voter registration with the deadline set for the voter registration in the Philippines which is October 30.

“Given the confusion brought about by COVID, the numerous extensions and difficulties in travel of our OFWs, I was urging the Comelec, and I reiterate this plea, that we extend at least two weekends in the most populous or the consulates with the most Filipinos.”

Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas, meanwhile, said they will have to discuss the matter in the next en banc session.

“Pag-uusapan namin kung kaya pa namin ii-stretch yung sa OFOV (Office for Overseas Voting). Stretched na stretched na po siya pero i-try pa rin namin, magandang idea ‘yun your honors na we will cater dun lang sa parang pinaka NCR nila, yung pinakamaraming na hindi pa nakapagrehistro,” Abas said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Comelec targets at least 350K additional new voters from extended deadline of registration

Maris Federez   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expects to hit the target of additional 350,000 to 500,000 new voters with the extension of the deadline for voter registration to October 30.

To date, the country has registered 63.6 million Filipinos to qualify to vote in the coming elections. Around 6.1 million of whom are newly registered voters and 700,000 are reactivated voters, based on Comelec data from August 2019 to September 2021.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon hopes to have more registration areas activated to reduce long lines in existing Comelec sites.

He also urged those who have yet to register not to wait for the last minute to do so.

Meanwhile, several senators support Comelec’s request to have the amount that was removed from their proposed budget be reverted.

Comelec said this will give more leeway for them to ensure safe elections in 2022 amid the continuing threats of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The budget recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the commission to use in 2022 is only Php26.7-billion from their original request of Php42-billion, which senators find too small.

“The Comelec budget is simply too small to COVID-proof the election. And if we say it is a high cost to bear, the price of a failed presidential election in these difficult times will be even more costly to the nation,” said Senator Imee Marcos.

Comelec said that reverting the fund to their original request will also ensure that teachers will be able to receive higher honoraria in rendering services during the elections.

Meanwhile, Comelec is set to conduct simulation activities for the 2022 elections on October 23. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Comelec extends registration hours, days in select field offices

Maris Federez   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has directed its select field offices in the country to extend registration hours up to 7:00 in the evening and to add Saturday registration.

In a statement released Saturday, the poll body said that the order is on top of the extension of the registration period until October 30 that the en banc approved.

According to Comelec, the extended weekday registration hours and additional Saturday registration will be implemented in the concerned Offices of the Election (OEOs) as well as in mall registration sites.

“To reiterate, all types of application will be accepted, not just those that may come from first-time registrants,” Spokesperson James Jimenez said.

The extended voter registration schedule will be from Mondays to Fridays, 8:00 A.M. to 7:00 pm, and Saturday from 8:00am to 5:00 pm on October 16 and 23, 2021, in the following areas:

  • All cities and municipalities in the National Capital Region (NCR)
  • The municipalities of Alcala and San Quintin in Pangasinan
  • Tarlac City and the municipalities of Capas and Concepcion in Tarlac
  • All municipalities and city in Quezon Province
  • Labo, Camarines Norte
  • Castilla, Sorsogon
  • The cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu in Cebu Province

Meanwhile, in the following localities, registration hours will still be from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., but also with Saturday registration on the same dates:

  • The municipalities of Anda, Sto. Tomas and Sual in Pangasinan
  • The municipalities of Aringay, Balaoan and Caba in La Union
  • All cities and municipalities of Ilocos Sur
  • The municipalities of Balatan, Bula, Cabusao, Goa, Lagonoy, Libmanan, Magarao, Minalabac, Ragay, Sagñay, San Fernando, San Jose, Tigaon and Tinambac in Camarines Sur

Field offices in areas not included in the aforementioned list will follow the registration days and hours of Mondays to Fridays, 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. However, registration will be conducted on the last day, October 30, 2021, which is a Saturday, Comelec said. —/mbmf

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