By Hannah Torregoza | Manila Bulletin
Senators on Thursday, August 12 welcomed the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) decision to reactivate delisted voters noting this is a “good move” from the poll body ahead of the May 2022 national elections.
“This is a welcome development. We expect Comelec to thoroughly cleanse the voter’s list. Dapat nilang siguraduhin na nananahimik na ang mga ‘multong botante’ (They need to make sure that ghost voters are eradicated),” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
Hontiveros pointed out that the threat of the Delta COVID-19 variant has made it difficult for persons with disabilities and seniors to revalidate their voter’s registration, amid the reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The senator, likewise, urged the Comelec to extend the voter’s registration especially in areas that are under ECQ.
“I also support various calls to allow early voting for persons with disabilities, seniors, and pregnant women,” she said.
“Lahat ng Pilipinong nasa hustong gulang ay dapat mabigyan ng pagkakataong makibahagi sa proseso ng ating eleksyon (All Filipinos who are in their legal age to vote should be given the right to participate in the electoral process),” she stressed.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, likewise, lauded the Comelec for making the adjustments as the nation continues to face a global health crisis.
“This will help increase voter registration and reactivation and encourage participation in the elections next year,” Villanueva said.
“We hope that the rules being drafted by COMELEC have sufficient provisions on verifying the state of the deactivated senior citizens and PWDs, at a convenient manner that would not jeopardize the safety and health of our voters,” added the lawmaker.
Villanueva said it is important to ensure the integrity of the voters’ list or database, saying verification processes can be achieved through a video call and other electronic means.
“We also call on the Comelec to remain vigilant and ensure there are sufficient precautions in place,” he said.
“We’ll look forward to the budget deliberations of the COMELEC to find out their proposals to ensure health protocols are observed during the May 2022 elections,” added Villanueva.
While she also welcome the Comelec’s move, Sen. Imelda “Imee” Marcos said she hopes that the poll body would also include indigenous peoples (Ips), repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and even deactivated healthworkers in the process of reactivation.
She also urged the Comelec to expand emergency accessible polling places which she said is best located in open-air vaccination sites.