Many fail to sign up on last day of registration

·3 min read

AS THE voter registration period for the December 5 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls ended, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Saturday, July 23, 2022, sought understanding from those who were not able to sign up.

Acting Comelec Spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said they hope the public will understand why the deadline had to be set on July 23, just three weeks after it opened.

"To our countrymen that failed to get registered for this voter registration period, we appeal for your understanding," said Laudiangco.

He said the commission had to contend with provisions of the law, which prohibits any voter registration activities 120 days before an election, which falls on August 7, 2022.

Laudiangco said that aside from receiving applications, the commission is also expected to complete the posting of the list of applicants, hold Election Registration Board (ERB) hearings, subject all applications to the automated fingerprint identification system, and approve the project of precincts.

"We need to impose such a deadline so that we can still have enough time to complete the process of registration in accordance with the law," Laudiangco said in a statement.

He vowed that the Comelec will evaluate the conduct of the voter registration to ensure a better process in the next one.

This includes the selection of better venues and the queueing process for voter registration activities.

"The public can be assured that we will continuously assess and evaluate our entire registration process," said Laudiangco.

On Saturday, July 23, the Comelec was expected to close the three-week voter registration period for the village and youth polls.

Data from the Comelec- Election and Barangay Affairs Department showed that there were 2,334,406 new registrants nationwide as of July 21.

There were 1,456,699 applicants aged 15 to 17 years old (SK voters); 752,819 applicants aged 18 to 30 years old (both SK and regular voters); and124,888 applicants who are 31 years old and above (regular voters).

In Lapu-Lapu City, some 2,000 individuals went to City Hall to catch the last day of voter registration on Saturday.

But many of them were not able to do so since the Comelec in Lapu-Lapu City catered only to those who were in the poll office in the upper floor by 4 p.m.

Police Staff Sergeant Benonie Arresgado, beat patroller of the City Mobile Force Company (CMFC), said as early as 5 a.m., there was already a long queue of registrants, including those who were not able to make it to the cut-off time on Friday.

Arresgado said some of them slept outside City Hall on Friday evening in order to be accommodated early.

Lawyer Janet Lamban, the election officer in Lapu-Lapu City, said their system will automatically shut off at 5 p.m.

Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano also told SunStar Cebu that Comelec offices, including offsite offices, will have to close by 5 p.m.

In Cebu City, registrants complained about the misleading registration form distribution in one of the malls where the registration was held.

Tension arose when some registrants from the north and south district claimed that a Comelec official gave them the wrong registration form.

The commotion led to the delay of the registration process. By 7 p.m., some of the applicants who had been there since 8 a.m. still have not made it to the photo capture and precinct number assignment.

An applicant from Barangay Tisa claimed that when applicants started to fall in line in the morning, a Comelec official had been going around distributing a blank yellow form, which the official said the registrants (both new and existing) from the north district needed to fill up.

But minutes before the cut-off at 1 p.m., another Comelec official reportedly told them that they got the wrong form and that they would not be entertained.

The Comelec officials who administered the registration did not comment on the allegations and instead tried expediting the registration process to accommodate more applicants. (HDT / SunStar Philippines)/ MKG / HIC)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting