By Robertzon Ramirez | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — Voters’ registration and issuance of voters’ certificates in more areas placed under stricter community quarantine have been suspended.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Facebook and Twitter yesterday that Samboan, Sibonga, Argao, Cordova, Oslob, Liloan, Consolacion and Minglanilla towns and the cities of Talisay, Carcar and Naga in Cebu province, which were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting yesterday, were added to the list.
Voters’ registration in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan, which is under ECQ starting today until Aug. 21, was also suspended.
Similar activities were suspended in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, which was placed under MECQ from Aug. 9 to 23.
The Comelec said satellite registration in barangays, malls and other venues in ECQ and MECQ areas are covered by the suspension order.
It appealed to residents in areas under more relaxed community quarantine status to register for the 2022 polls.
Comelec officials had earlier said there would be no extension of the deadline on Sept. 30.
‘Extend for 1 month’
As this developed, Sen. Francis Pangilinan reiterated his call for the poll body to extend voters’ registration by at least one month.
“For every 10 days of registration, four days are on lockdown. A one-month extension will not extensively hinder Comelec’s preparation for the elections especially given that voters’ registration was suspended for half a year,” Pangilinan said.
“We believe that a one-month extension is reasonable and even generous given the period we lost due to pandemic suspensions,” he said.
Pangilinan said the Comelec is allowed under Republic Act 8189 or the Voter’s Registration Act to extend the registration period.
“Six elections before this have set voter’s registration deadline in October or even later. We have historical data saying it can work pre-pandemic. It’s only reasonable for adjustments to be made while we are under a state of public health emergency,” Pangilinan said.
With the Comelec reporting 60 million registered voters as of June, Pangilinan expressed concern that there would be around 13.3 million potentially unregistered voters in next year’s polls. – Paolo Romero