Registrants swarm poll offices
AJ de la Torre, Jessa Agua (The Freeman) - July 29, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Thousands of people who wish to participate in the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections on October continue to flock at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices in Cebu City to register.

The volume of both new registrants and those who wish to transfer registration has made it difficult for the undermanned poll body to accommodate everybody.

The Comelec yesterday asked for understanding from residents who will not be accommodated in the ongoing registration.

“We sincerely ask for the public’s understanding and patience. While we know that everybody is entitled to be registered, we acknowledge that fact that we have limitations,” Cebu City North District Election Officer Atty. Marchel Sarno told The Freeman yesterday after a brief meeting with Mayor Michael Rama who dropped by the office.

Sarno continued that despite their drawbacks, COMELEC and the city government are doing its best to deliver.

“Rest assured, akong pasalig sa tanan nga tanang makaya namo nga mabuhat, amo gyud ng buhaton (I assured everybody that we will do everything within our limits),” Sarno added.

The election officer revealed that they are targeting about 10,000 new registrations for regular barangay elections with no specific target for SK because “it would be very speculative” since they don’t have data on the statistics of projected SK voters.

Rama wanted to personally assess the flow of registration before leaving for Japan the entire week in line with his plan to make Cebu a retirement hub for Japanese retirees.

The mayor personally talked to Sarno and South District Election Officer Atty. Edwin Cadungog, inquiring what the city can do to help, aside from the logistic and manpower augmentation earlier extended by city government following an unexpected crowd turnout during the first day of registration last Monday.

“We have to tell the truth. I already made my representations at the COMELEC head office when I recently went to Manila expressing our intention to request for more capturing machines to expedite the registration in order to accommodate as much new registrants. But it seems the agency could not grant that considering its capacity. Let’s just wait,” Rama told The Freeman.

Sarno echoed the mayor’s statement saying it is the right of the public to know the extent of service that the COMELEC can deliver.

With the intervention of the city government, crowd was decongested from COMELEC offices since the first two steps of the registration were transferred to Plaza Independencia.

As of yesterday, the north district has 7,150 total registration for regular while south has about 5,900.

While south has yet to release initial SK registration, the north has about 5,000 already.

Registrations will continue until July 31 while elections.

Atty. Ferdinand Gujilde, election officer IV, said they expect more registrants for the SK since the process for their registration is much easier compared to the regular voters. SK registrants only need to fill out forms while regular voters need to have their biometrics recorded. — (FREEMAN)

BARANGAY AND SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN ELECTIONS CEBU CITY CEBU CITY NORTH DISTRICT ELECTION OFFICER ATTY COMELEC EDWIN CADUNGOG FERDINAND GUJILDE MARCHEL SARNO MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA REGISTRATION SARNO
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