Lawyer Marchel Sarno, Cebu City North District election officer, said that more or less a hundred people registered with the office that day.
The STAR/Edd Gumban,file
First day of voter registration yields small turnout
Lorraine L. Ecarma, Alicia Ivy L. Chua (The Freeman) - January 22, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  It was an underwhelming first day of voter registration on Monday in terms of turnout, at least in Cebu City and Cebu province, the Commission on Elections said.

Lawyer Marchel Sarno, Cebu City North District election officer, said that more or less a hundred people registered with the office that day.

“First day, gamay ra, mga more or less 100, sa South (District) guro pud similar,” said Sarno.

Sarno said that they are expecting the turnout to have doubled yesterday since the first day happened to fall on the rest day after the Sinulog Festival.

“Mas daghan ang karon compared gahapon, kay kasabot ta kay Sinulog man pud tong Sunday, pero expected mas daghan na sa mga sunod na adlaw,” said Sarno.

The COMELEC offices in Cebu City are located at WDC Building, Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City and are open during weekdays, Saturdays, including holidays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COMELEC offices will be closed on the following holidays: April 9-10, 2020 for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, December 25, 2020 Christmas Day, and April 1-2, 2021, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

“To those who want to register in Cebu City, they can visit our office along Osmeña Boulevard, and for other municipalities, didto lang pud sa ilang munisipyo,” said Sarno.

Sarno said that the registrants just have to bring a valid identification card in order to apply for registration.

Other transactions available in the COMELEC offices are transfer of registration records, correction of registered records, and release of voter’s certificates.

Voters who registered for the previous midterm elections do not need to register again.

Under the Republic Act No. 8189 or the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996, any Filipino citizen who is not yet a registered voter, may apply for registration, provided he/she possesses the following qualifications:

At least eighteen (18) years of age on Election Day and/or are committed inside the detention centers for at least six months immediately preceding Election Day.

And a resident of the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherin he/she proposes to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the elections.

Meanwhile, a small turnout also marked the first day of registration in most municipalities of the province, Atty. Ferdinand Gujilde, Cebu provincial election officer, said.

According to Gujilde, there were about a hundred to two hundred registrants in each of the cities of Lapu-lapu, Mandaue, and Cebu.

But in the province, he added, there were municipalities where the turnout was zero.

He said that he fears that this would lead to the influx of registrants towards the registration deadline.

“Kani, delikado na pud no nga timailhan kay buotnipasabot nagpaabot na pud, nagsalig sa deadline,” Gujilde said.

“Moawhag ta no nga dili mokompyansa. Take advantage of the early time aron di maapiki init ka deadline,” he added.

The registration period will last until September 2021.  JMD (FREEMAN)

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