By Cathrine Gonzales | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing to add Friday and the weekends to the schedule of voter registration, as it finds itself still lagging behind its target of four million new voters for the upcoming May 2022 elections.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez noted on Tuesday that some people may not be available during the current schedule of voter registration, which covers 8 a.m. to 3 p.m from Monday to Thursday, because of their duties at work.
“What we are considering is an extension of registration hours on every registration day as well as extension of what amounts to right now a four-day work-week,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“As you know, registration today happens only from Monday to Thursday. The Comelec is looking towards making that Monday to Friday, or perhaps even adding a weekend registration. This will help reach out to people who probably might not be able to register because of work obligations,” he added.
Previously, the Comelec said it was only eyeing to extend hours for voter registration.
Jimenez said the poll body is looking at extending the voter registration for three hours on a daily basis. “We hope that will be enough coupled with perhaps in the number of satellite registrations nationwide,” he added.
The Comelec has so far recorded about 1.3 million voter applications as of Monday, according to the official.
Voter registration ends on September 30. An extension of the deadline, said Jimenez, “would probably not be in the books” since the filing of certificates of candidacy would already start in October.
He then urged those who have yet to register to apply to become a voter in the upcoming polls.
“One of the things that the pandemic brought to us is a clarity about what the power of our vote actually represents. For the first time I think in a very long time, we are seeing the actual effect of the election day choices we have made. The quality of governance we receive now is a direct consequence of our election day choices in elections past,” he noted.
Participating in the elections, added Jimenez, is “worth your time.”
“It is worth your time to take the reins of responsibility and power in your own hands and not leave it in the hands of others. In order to do that, you have to register and make your voice heard when we have elections in 2022,” he said.
“Please do not waste this opportunity to become part of the process of governance in this country because remember, when you vote on election day, you are actually helping define the policies that will govern you for the next three, six years of your life in this country. So please register and vote,” Jimenez added.