Comelec looking for ways to distribute 4-M voter’s IDs

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking for ways to distribute around four million unclaimed voter’s identification (ID) cards across the country.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said they are studying the possibility of holding a “distribution event” next month in a public place in each locality to reach out to voters who have not collected their voter’s ID.

“We are planning to do this in a public place where people will come to get their IDs. Our only reservation, however, is that people might expect us to do this on a regular basis.  We cannot do that,” he said.

Based on the Comelec’s inventory, there around four million unclaimed voters IDs in almost all of its offices nationwide. But while the poll body had campaigned for the distribution of the IDs this year, only around 7,000 voter’s IDs have been claimed.

Many voters, according to the Comelec, apparently think that their voter’s ID cards will be delivered to the respective barangays.

Jimenez, however, said they could not let barangay leaders do the distribution.

“We might have a problem with that because in the past, when we let the voter’s IDs be distributed in the barangays, there was a possibility that they would not be distributed. What happened was that only the voter’s IDs of their allies were released,” he said.

He cited an incident after the Maguindanao massacre wherein authorities recovered voter’s IDs when they raided the house of the Ampatuans in the province.

Jimenez said the Comelec is also toying with the idea of posting the names of voters whose IDs have not been claimed at barangay halls. At present, election officers have a standing order to display such lists only at Comelec offices.

“We may post the lists at the barangays but we will still be the one to release the voter’s IDs. The Comelec is still the safest place to do this,” he said.

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