Comelec: 507,317 apply to register as voters

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Comelec: 507,317 apply to register as voters
Individuals fill out registration forms during the first day of the voter’s registration of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the 2025 National and Local Elections at the Comelec District 2 office in Quezon City on February 12, 2024.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — More than half a million people have filed their applications so far to become registered voters, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), as preparations are now ongoing for the May 2025 midterm elections.

Latest data from the Comelec showed that as of Feb. 21, a total of 507,317 have completed their voter registration for next year’s election.

Calabarzon has the highest number of applicants with 95,741, followed by the National Capital Region with 72,400 applicants.

Central Luzon and Central Visayas followed with 54,536 and 41,431 applicants, respectively.

Meanwhile, Davao Region has 29, 513 applicants and Northern Mindanao has 24,251.

The lowest number of applications was in the Cordillera Administrative Region with 5,637 applicants.

The Comelec said there were 694 individuals who chose to file applications at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.

The poll body earlier said it expects around three million to apply to become registered voters.

The voter registration period for the 2025 local and national polls started last Feb. 12 and will run until Sept. 30.

Automated elections

The Comelec said it is hopeful that negotiations on the contract for the automated election system (AES) to be used for next year’s elections will be smooth sailing.

“Joint venture of Miru already received the Notice of Award. We relayed to them the plan to start contract negotiations by next week. If there is no difficulty in the contract negotiations, we hope to complete it in two week’s time,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia said in an interview.

However, he stressed that the contract negotiations will deal with several items such as customization, establishment of repair hubs in each province, ballot printing, international certification, source code review and other matters in the contract.

Garcia said once contract signing is done, they can issue the Notice to Proceed so that Miru can begin manufacturing the machines.

Meanwhile, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) welcomed how the Comelec has been open during the entire bidding process for the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (FASTrAC) project.

“The transparency in the bidding process must be acknowledged. The involvement of civil society organizations, LENTE included, as observers in various procurement stages underscores Comelec’s commitment to uphold transparency in such crucial election processes,” said LENTE in a statement.

However, it still reminded the poll body to continue being transparent even after the project was awarded.

The group added, “Receiving and addressing concerns about the accessibility, efficiency and usability of the new machines is crucial to protecting Filipinos’ right to suffrage and ensuring a credible electoral process in 2025.”

On the part of the Comelec, Garcia committed to make public all documents pertaining to the AES to be used in the 2025 elections.

“We will not hide anything (related to the AES). We will be open for all to see what is taking place,” he said.

The Comelec on Thursday declared the Joint Venture of Miru Systems Co. Ltd., Integrated Computer Systems, St. Timothy Construction Corporation and Centerpoint Solutions Technologies Inc. as the winning bidder for the FASTrAc project which will be used in the 2025 national and local polls.

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