With 15-M eligible voters still unregistered, Comelec urged to extend registration period

With 15-M eligible voters still unregistered, Comelec urged to extend registration period
File photo shows Filipinos casting their votes.
Philstar.com / File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Thursday urged the Commission on Elections to extend its registration period to accommodate 15 million eligible voters who are still unregistered.

During a hearing held by the Senate committee on electoral reforms, Pangilinan asked the poll body to consider an extension of 30 to 45 days. If Comelec chooses not to extend it, registration will end on September 30. 

"This is a big deal because let us remember that in the May 2016 elections... 16 million voters voted for President Duterte," he said in Filipino.

"The presidency, the composition of the Senate, the composition of the House can very well depend if we are able to register or not more of those not registered."

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority shows that 73 million voters are qualified to participate in the 2022 elections. Comelec told senators that only 58 million have registered thus far, leaving 15 million unaccounted for.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said the poll body was not "closing its doors" on a possible extension but warned that pushing back the deadline for registration would result in a "tight schedule."

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon early in February took to Twitter to plead with the country's three million 18-year-olds to register before September 30.

She noted the overall low rate of registrants, citing Metro Manila where only 260,000 of the targeted 462,499 had registered.

“Regional election directors of the Comelec, wake up. We need to register three million 18-year-olds before September 30,” she said.

Pangilinan similarly urged the poll body to improve its voter registration efforts.

He also called on Comelec to address the situation of some seven million voters who, according to Guanzon, were deactivated. 

While some of these voters were deactivated due to death, the poll body's spokesman James Jimenez said others were unregistered because of failure to participate in two consecutive elections. — Bella Perez-Rubio 



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