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House seeks extension of voters’ registration

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
House seeks extension of votersâ registration
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Paduano filed House Bill 10261, asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the registration, which is supposed to end on Sept. 30, by a month.
Miguel De Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives yesterday pushed for the extension of voters’ registration up to Oct. 31.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Paduano filed House Bill 10261, asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the registration, which is supposed to end on Sept. 30, by a month.

With barely eight months before the 2022 general elections, House leaders said it is important that every qualified Filipino will be able to cast a ballot and vote for the country’s next leaders.

The conduct of regular elections, they said, is crucial in the life of a democratic nation.

“As a basic precept of democracy, each of our kababayans must be given the utmost and widest opportunity to participate in the electoral process,” they added.

The voters’ registration would have been an ordinary concern if there had been no pandemic, they said.

“But we are living under extraordinary circumstances. The public health crisis has been prolonged and many prospective voters have been forced to delay their registration this year and in 2020.”

The bill was referred to the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms during Wednesday’s session.

The measure was filed after the Comelec rejected calls to extend the deadline of registration.

Meanwhile, former Comelec commissioner Goyo Larrazabal urged registered voters to cast their votes in the May 2022 national and local elections as he projected a voter turnout of around 52 percent.

“Every vote will matter. You, the person reading this tweet, your vote matters and will have a bigger impact than you can imagine,” Larrazabal posted on Twitter.

His projection on the voter turnout is at least 36.29 percent lower than the 81.62 percent pre-pandemic voter turnout recorded in the 2016 presidential elections.

The Comelec said it updated the list of malls that are open as registration booths for those who wish to register.

It also reminded the public that registration is suspended in areas under enhanced community quarantine and would automatically resume once the quarantine status is downgraded until the Sept. 30 deadline. – Robertzon Ramirez

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