By Allen Estabillo | Philippine News Agency
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) will set up satellite voter registration activities in selected barangays in the region to accommodate more eligible residents.
Lawyer Michael Abas, Comelec-Region 12 director, said Friday they are currently evaluating the barangays that the offsite voter’s registration would cover, in coordination with the local government units (LGUs).
Abas said the activity would only be conducted in barangays with no cases of infection or classified as free from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The agency will secure proper clearance first with the Inter-Agency Task Force against Covid-19 of the concerned LGUs before conducting the barangay-based satellite voter’s registration, he said.
Abas said they opted anew for such a strategy to maximize their coverage in the wake of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.
He admitted that the ongoing voter registration in their field offices has been limited due to the situation and the implementation of various preventive measures and health protocols against the disease.
In this city, for instance, he said Comelec personnel decided to limit the number of registrants that they will cater per day to only 50.
“This is to avoid overcrowding as the available space is quite limited, and we don’t want to compromise the health of the people and our personnel,” he said in a radio interview.
Abas said many people are also reluctant to go to the town and city centers and process their registration due to the threats posed by the spread of Covid-19.
Comelec offices in the region initially catered to voter registration applications from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. when it resumed last Jan. 4.
But he said they would extend their operations until Saturday starting this weekend based on a directive from their central office.
Residents who want to register as voters or have other transactions with their field offices may set an appointment online through the Comelec website’s iRehistro portal, he said.
Comelec-12 has jurisdiction over the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
The region posted 2,431,265 registered voters in the 2019 local and national midterm elections, increasing by 345,153 from the 2,086,112 in the 2016 polls. (PNA)