Comelec-Cebu ramps up info drive to encourage people to vote

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | March 02,2021 - 01:52 PM

Comelec-Cebu election officer Lionel Marco Castillano (right) speaks during a press conference on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. With him is former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio ‘Goyo’ Larrazabal (left). CDN Digital photo | Morexette Marie B. Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Commission on Elections in Cebu (Comelec-Cebu) is now ramping up education and information drives as an effort to boost the number of registered voters for the May 2022 elections. 

This after the provincial election office still registered low turnout in applications for new voters. 

“We still a need a lot of catching up to do,” said lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, the Comelec-Cebu election officer, in Cebuano.

“Usually, we observe a five percent increase after every cycle of registration. But now, it has not even reached one percent,” he added  

Data from Comelec-Cebu shows they processed a total of 17,263 applications from new voters from Feb. 1 to Feb. 27.  To recall, they were only able to record over 51,000 new registered voters here from Sept. 2020 up to Jan. 14 in 2021. 

Read: Record-low 51K register as new voters for entire Cebu

These figures included those from the island-province’s three largest cities, which are Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu. 

Castillano also said they observed that there were more individuals who were delisted than those who filed their applications as new voters. 

“We don’t have the exact figures as of now as we are still finalizing the data but yes, we have lesser applications for new voters than those removed for failing to vote twice,” he said. 

Comelec-Cebu also sought the assistance of former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio ‘Goyo’ Larrazabal for their information drive. 

Larrazabal said they will be rolling out campaign materials and initiatives that would relate closely to locals. 

“We have to be really vocal in encouraging more people to vote,” said Larrazabal. 

Vote-rich province

Comelec’s central office has recently issued Resolution No. 10695, outlining the calendar of activities for the Presidential Polls, which will take place on May 9, 2022. 

Cebu is the country’s vote-rich province, with an average of over three million individuals expected to cast their ballots.

As of Jan. 14, the Comelec received 1,117,528 applications from new voters all over the country. It was way behind the commission’s target of four million for next year’s elections. 

The low turn out was attributed to the lockdowns and threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

This also prompted Comelec to extend its registration up to five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. since February 15. 

When the Comelec resumed voter registration on Sept. 1, 2020, after the pandemic lockdown, its offices only accepted applications from Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Despite all of these, Castillano also reminded Cebuanos that elections would continue. 

“I think by the time now that we are rolling out the vaccine so we should not be misled on stories that there will be no elections due to the pandemic. Even other countries did have elections during the pandemic such as South Korea and the U.S,” said Castillano. / with reports from INQUIRER.NET


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TAGS: COMELEC Cebu, Gregorio ‘Goyo’ Larrazabal, Lionel Marco Castillano, low turnout, registered voters

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