Applicants troop to Comelec to beat deadline for voter registration
WHILE offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the north and south districts of Cebu City were jampacked with registrants yesterday, the queues at their offices in the other cities and municipalities in the province were manageable.
“Our offices in the province, on the other hand, they’re almost done in receiving applications from the voters since Wednesday. In Cebu City, well, the scene remained the same like in the previous years — long lines and a huge crowd,” said Comelec–Cebu Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano.
He said that around 500 voters lined up to register as voters for the May 2019 barangay and youth elections in the south district of Cebu City alone.
Yesterday was the last day of voter’s registration.
“The problem usually with those who are trying to chase the deadline, which is 5 p.m., is that they often go in groups. They needed company to register as voters. This is what we’ve been observing from our voters lately,” Castillano stated.
“This is why we’ve been continually urging the people that as much as possible, do not wait for the deadline to draw close. Register as early as possible to avoid long lines,” he added.
There were 2,082 registrants who flocked to the offices of the Comelec Cebu City North and South district yesterday — 1,171 for the south district and 911 for the north district.
Registrants lined up as early as 7:30 in the morning.
The Cebu City Comelec office has four voter’s registration machines to accommodate the registrants, said Cebu City North District Election Officer Marchel Sarno.
“Naandan na gyud ni sa mga tawo pero pagsugod sa registration, daghan unya nagkagamay unya ni-doble pa gyud sa last day sa registration. We are maximizing our efficiency tungod sa kadaghan sa tawo,” said Sarno.
(This is a usual thing with the registrants. In the beginning there are many who register then the number dwindles then suddenly doubles on the last day of registration.)
He said they were prepared for the number of people who would come to register yesterday.
“Of all the cities in Cebu, kita ra ang naay upat ka machines ang uban duha ra, kay tungod ni sa kabaga sa katawahan nga mo-register diri sa Cebu City, from north to south,” he said.
(We are the only office that has four machines because of the big number of registrants in Cebu City.)
One of the people queuing was Teresita Abella, 71, from Sitio Nazareth, Barangay Buhisan, who was waiting for her husband to finish the registration, along with her daughter Adelaida Abella, who was also waiting for her daughter.
“Amo nalang gyud gi am-aman nga morehistro, bisan sa kadaghan sa tawo. Wa mi ka register gahapon kay nanganak man gud akong anak nya nagita kog midwife,” said Teresita.
(We tried to pacify the one in charge of the registration because of the number of people queuing. We couldn’t register yesterday because I had to look for a midwife to assist my daughter in giving birth.)
As soon as the Comelec offices throughout the country finish consolidating and summarizing the data obtained from yesterday’s registration, Castillano said these will be forwarded to their central office in Manila wherein the Election Registration Board (ERB) will approve the applications of the registrants.
“This December 18, the ERB will review the applications and approve them. Then probably hours later, they will give the go-signal for us to start clustering the precincts. They usually give us 10 days to accomplish it,” he explained.
On the other hand, initial data from Comelec–Cebu revealed that from November 5 to November 21, there were a total of 28,830 registrants aged 15–30 who are expected to cast their ballots for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, from all 53 cities and towns in the province including Cebu City.
Castillano said an updated number of all registrants from the 53 local governments in Cebu may be released next week. /with Morexette Marie Erram and Steffi Nolido, USC Intern
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