THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Cebu City will still negotiate with mall administrators on possible extension on the use of their facilities as remote voter registration sites, an official said.
"First few days, sure jud na na mubalik ta sa office kay dili man gud diha diha dayon nga maaprobahan ta pagbalik sa mall. Makigsabot na sab ta," said Comelec-North District elections officer Chaunsey Boholst.
(We will surely continue the registration at Comelec offices because we still have to ask for approval from malls.)
"Pero, I think makabalik g'yod ta subsequently sa malls kay receptive sad atong mga malls pag sponsor, pagpagamit sa ilang lugar para sa registration," he added.
(But I think we can go back to malls, as some of the mall administrators are also receptive of our request to use the area for registration.)
This came as the Comelec announced Wednesday the extension of voter registration for the May 2022 polls.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said the voter registration will end as scheduled on Thursday, September 30, but it will resume on October 9 to 31, 2021, or after the filing of certificates of candidacy on October 1 to 8.
Boholst said they are still waiting for the formal and written order from their central office on the voter registration extension.
The memorandum is expected to be issued Wednesday afternoon, September 29.
Boholst said the Comelec-Cebu City is ready for the extension, but he admitted that this will be an extra challenge for their personnel.
"We trust the wisdom of the Comelec en banc. Kung muingon sila nga extend g'yod, so kayahon g'yod kay sila may mas nakahibaw, although di kalikayan nga naay pressure," he said.
Boholst also said that they prefer to conduct voter registrations in malls to better enforce the minimum health protocols, considering that the space is wide and it is more comfortable for the registrants and Comelec personnel.
He added that mall guards can also help impose the health protocols.
Boholst said that as of September 28, the number of new registrants in Cebu City North District was already 15,500, while 317,119 voters have been registered as of June 30.
Boholst asked those who have yet to register to take advantage of the registration extension. He advised them to register early and not wait for the deadline.
"Nahimo na g'yod ng practice nato ba nga kung kanus-a ang deadline, ngadto na sad. So, mao lang gihapon, dili ta maghuwat sa deadline kay tanan man gihapon mo suffer," he said.
The Comelec earlier asked the City Government to temporarily close a portion of the Osmeña Blvd. (near the Comelec Cebu City and Sto. Niño de Cebu Pilgrim Center) from motorists and the public for the filing of certificate of candidacy from October 1 to 8.
In a separate interview, Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama, who will be running for mayor, and Marino Partylist Representative Macnell Lusotan welcomed the extension of the voters' registration.
Lusotan said new voters, or the youth should be given the chance to exercise their rights to suffrage, thus he supports the extension of the registration period.
"The future belongs to whoever will exercise their rights to suffrage...because the pandemic has caused a lot of deterrent, because the pandemic has caused a lot of adjustments, a one month extension is practically something that should be welcomed," Rama said. (WBS/SunStar Philippines)