Rappler : Months before deadline, qualified voters encounter registration problems

15 June 2021

By IYA GOZUM | Rappler

Rappler is compiling issues that citizens are experiencing, hoping to get the proper government offices and watchdog organizations to help address them. Share your experience online using the hashtag #PHVote.

Three months before voter registration ends, qualified voters are still encountering problems, ultimately hindering them from enlisting for the 2022 Philippine elections.

Among the concerns they have posted on social media or sent to Rappler are the limited registration slots offered by their local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office or their local governments, as well as ineffective registration sites.

These issues arise after almost two years since voter registration began in August 2019. A few months after registration started, a global pandemic was announced, hampering the registration drives of the Comelec, local governments, and various groups.

Registration was suspended for a time when the country was under enhanced community quarantine. Surge in COVID-19 cases also shortened registration hours.

We are compiling issues that citizens are experiencing, hoping to get the proper government offices and watchdog organizations to help address them. If you have a problem registering, let us know by joining our digital campaign and sharing your experience online using the hashtag #PHVote.

Unavailable appointment system in iRehistro

The Comelec launched iRehistro supposedly to streamline the process of voter registration in the country. But some local government units (LGUs) opted to establish their own appointment system for voter registration.

However, qualified voters in some areas report that the appointment system for their city or municipality is not available. Such is the case in Taguig City, where registrants are not able to book a slot for biometrics capture. Other disabled systems include Makati District 2, Las Piñas, Pasig, and Pasay (districts 1 and 2).

Visit this site for more information on the online appointment system in Taguig City. If your city or municipality is unavailable through Comelec’s iRehistro, check if your local government or your local Comelec office provide their own booking system, or inquire with your barangay officials.

Fully-booked iRehistro

Aside from unavailable appointment systems under iRehistro, some users are unable to use the site because it is already fully booked for biometric capture slots until September 25, 2021. From September 27 to 30, the deadline for registration, only walk-ins are accepted.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon told CNN Philippines on June 9 that there would be no extension for the registration period: “I would like to emphasize that the registration is going to end on September 30, and there will be no extension.”

Schedule of registration is on weekdays, when most are at work or in class

Some Filipinos are having a hard find time squeezing registration chores into their schedule, as Comelec hours coincide with work and class hours.

Comelec is accepting applications from Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm. For those with strict work schedules during the week, satellite registration offices are open on Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm.

Printed forms are still required

Even when appointments can be done online, would-be registrants are still required to print out the forms they fill out online. This midway shift to digital registration has left some users dismayed, as not everybody has “access to printers.”

Some barangay have printed forms, which the registrant may manually fill up on-site.

Threat of exposure to COVID-19 at the long lines for voter registration

Because registration on-site has cutoffs every day, long lines tend to form early in the morning for would-be voters. These lines make some uncomfortable because of COVID-19 exposure. A number of registrants complained to Rappler that Comelec or LGU workers in their localities don't bother to enforce physical distancing.

Offices are disinfected on day/s allotted by the LGUs. – Rappler.com