Filipino youth fear disenfranchisement in October polls

Wyatt Ong
Filipino youth fear disenfranchisement in October polls
October 31 marks the first Sangguniang Kabataan election after 3 years

MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of young voters across the country failed to register on Saturday, July 30, the last day of the registration for the Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay elections.

In Tumauini, Isabela, a Mover reported that as early as 8 am on July 30, a cutoff in registration was declared, and even the forms for distribution were limited.

In General Trias, Cavite, Mover Xian Lozares reported that despite the long lines, it was announced that only the first 500 applicants would be accommodated. 

At the Lingkod Pinoy Center at Robinsons Mall, Limketkai Complex, Cagayan de Oro City, 1000 priority numbers were given out. When these ran out, there was still a long line of hopeful youth registrants. 

PATIENCE. Caloocan youth wait their turn to register for the Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay elections. Photo by Dale Chang.

In Caloocan City, Mover Dale Chang reported that while some youth camped out early in the morning, they were told that only the first 1,500 applicants would be accommodated. 

In Cebu City, according to Mover Paolo Saberon, by 9 am, those in line were advised of the cutoff because 1,000 had already registered.

At Kabacan, North Cotabato, only 250 priority numbers were given. Strong rain and power interruptions affected the registration process.  

In Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Mover James Ventura reported that around 500 youth were in line, but that only around 250 could be accommodated. There were no available forms and no clear instructions for the registrants. 

WAITING. Youth in Legazpi, Albay, wait their turn to register at the local Comelec office. Photo by Flored Medina.

In Legazpi, Albay, Mover Flored Medina reported that 500 priority numbers were given, and that Comelec would go on overtime until everyone was able to register.   

In Manila, 500 priority numbers were given. New arrivals were not given numbers and had no assurance that they could be accommodated. 

However, in Pavia, Iloilo, Youth Commissioner JP Peñol reported that there was no cutoff, there was a smooth flow in registration, and hundreds were in line, but that all was in order. 

At Poblacion, Alubijid, Misamis Oriental, Mover Engelbert Ubay-Ubay observed that there were short lines and that there was no congestion.

HOPEFUL. Ilocos Norte youth fall in line to register for the Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay elections. Photo by James Ventura

On Saturday night, July 30, election offices in Badoc, Carasi, Piddig, Dingras, and Laoag in Ilocos Norte were still processing registrants. 

Mover James Ventura of Ilocos Norte, reported that most of the registrants were high school students, and the registration period covered only 3 Saturdays and 2 Sundays. He said that a limited number could only be accommodated per day.

When asked why she registered on the last day, Gienel Dometita, a student, said, “Ngayon lang din po ako sinabihan,eh.” (I was told only now about this) 

“I am disappointed with the early cut-off time scheduled by some Comelec offices nationwide, leaving thousands of young people still waiting in line yet unaware that they could no longer be accommodated. This action disenfranchises the youth of their basic right to vote and be heard,” observed Commissioner JP Peñol of the National Youth Commission, in a statement.

Chard Amazona, President of the 11th National Youth Parliament, initiated an online Registration Grievance Desk to gather reports about the SK registration.

On Thursday, August 4, youth groups called for an extension of the registration period – Rappler.com

 Jaira Roxas is an alumnus of the 11th National Youth Parliament.

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