Manila Standard - ‘Poll registration to go on despite virus’

5 March 2020

By Vito Barcelo | Manila Standard

The Commission on Elections on Thursday said it will not suspend the registration of overseas voters and local registrations for the May 2022 elections amid the novel coronavirus or COVID -19 spread.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the registration of overseas voters in all Philippine embassies and consulates will continue despite the deadly virus threat to enable them to vote for the May 2022 national and local polls.

Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10619, the period to file application to become registered overseas voters will run from Dec. 16, 2019 until Sept. 30, 2021.
The Comelec and the Foreign Affairs will continue to assist Filipinos living abroad for the registration of overseas voters despite the growing number of infected people with the COVID-19, which is now considered a global health issue.

Brigido Dulay, DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns, said COVID-19 will not be an issue for voter registration as most Filipinos in other countries are “living normally.”

The Comelec said there are at least 50,000 overseas voter applicants.

“However, Filipinos who have already lost their Filipino citizenships, those who have renounced their Philippine citizenship and have pledged allegiance to a foreign country, those that have committed an offense punishable by imprisonment of not less than one year, and any Filipino citizen declared insane by competent authority as verified by the Philippine Embassy or consulate, can no longer apply or register as Filipino voters,”the Comelec said.

Guanzon admitted that overseas registration has slowed down due to Covid-19 but expects the number of registrants will increase after the virus scare stop.

“Some areas in China, South Korea and other countries heavily affected by the virus will continue but will follow the government’s protocol,” Guanzon said.