Manila Bulletin : Comelec to conduct registration in MECQ areas on limited capacity

2 September 2021

By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila Bulletin

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resume the conduct of voter registration in modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) areas but in a limited capacity.

“The minimum health and safety protocols and other local health standards must still be strictly observed,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a statement on Thursday, Sept. 2

“Thus, our field personnel have been directed to conduct registration in MECQ areas in a limited capacity, and to use an appointment system but allow walk-in applicants through a strict numbering or other system,” he added.

On Wednesday, the poll body already announced the resumption of voter registration in all areas under MECQ status on Sept. 6.

The voter registration schedule in MECQ areas will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays, including holidays.

The Comelec said all types of applications may be submitted at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO), or in mall satellite registration sites.

In areas under general community Quarantine (GCQ), modified GCQ or any other lower quarantine status, the voter registration schedule remains to be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and holidays.

Voter registration is still suspended in ECQ areas.

Meanwhile, the Comelec believes having multi-day elections will be difficult given their limited budget.

“One very obvious complication of a multi-day elections is you have to pay teachers for several days instead of one,” Jimenez said in a radio interview.

“If it is two days, we have to double the honoraria. We are talking about at least 300,000 teachers. If we double the honoraria, we might not be able to afford that,” he added.

Jimenez also cited the pending requests from the Department of Education for the provision of food and transportation allowance as well as hazard pays to teachers.

“This might eat up a large part of the budget because our budget is 64 percent less than the original,” he said.

The poll official said this is aside from the security concerns.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) earlier trimmed the proposed budget of the Comelec from P42 billion to P26 billion.