Comelec-Cebu to public: Take time to register for 2022 polls
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Commission on Elections in Cebu (Comelec-Cebu) has urged Cebuanos to take time to register for the upcoming 2022 National Elections.
Comelec-Cebu made this call after still posting a low turnout of new voters for next year’s polls.
Aside from ramping up information and education campaigns, the election office here has reactivated several off-site registrations to boost the numbers of registered voters.
“We’ve been granting more and more satellite registration, because we are also requiring them to have satellite registration at least once a month, as long as it’s in a barangay with zero active cases,” said lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Comelec-Cebu supervisor.
In earlier reports, Comelec here lamented recording low voter turnouts.
From September 2020 up to January 14, 2021, they were only able to process 51,000 applications from new voters.
This is on top of the 17,263 new voters recorded from February 1 to February 27.
But all in all, Castillano said the figures were still far from their ideal target.
“Every after the registration period, we usually observe a five percent increase. Now, it does not even reach one percent. We really have a lot of catching up to do,” he said.
“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 such as South Korea and the U.S. did have their elections during the pandemic,” he added.
Comelec-Cebu has also enlisted the help of former elections commissioner Gregorio ‘Goyo’ Larrazabal to encourage Cebuanos to vote for next year’s elections.
In the same interview, Larrazabal urged the public to take time in registering as a new voter.
“Almost everyday naay magaway bahin sa pulitika (sa social media) pero pangutan-on ang uban kung rehistradong botante ba mo, ang uban dili. Pangutan-a na sila nakavote ba sila sa niaging elections, ang tubag wa. Ngano wa? ‘Ay kay busy man ko’. Pero naay oras mag away sa Facebook,” said Larrazabal.
(Almost every day, people will debate over politics on social media but if you ask them if they are registered voters, some of them will say no. If you’re going to ask them if they have voted in the previous elections, they will also say no. Why not? ‘Because I’m busy’. But they have time to argue with someone over Facebook.)
Cebu is the country’s vote-rich province, with an average of 3 million people expected to cast their votes every election.
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 turnout was attributed to the lockdowns and threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
This also prompted the Comelec to extend its registration up to five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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.
The country is expected to elect its new president, vice president, and other national and local officials this May 9, 2022.
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