MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will suspend the ongoing voters registration for the 2013 elections starting June 25 until July 31.
This, according to Comelec Resolutions 9442 and 9443, is to give way to the conduct of general voters registration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) from July 9 to 18.
The resolutions state that registration in other parts of the country needs to be suspended because “the Commission will utilize its personnel in the non-ARMM areas and deploy its equipment to augment the personnel and equipment requirements in ARMM areas.”
The poll body decided on May 11 to conduct voters re-registration in ARMM, heeding calls made by the Senate and President Aquino himself to nullify the region’s current list of voters and conduct a new round of registration to ensure clean and honest elections there.
The calls were prompted by a National Statistics Office report that revealed an apparent discrepancy between the census reports of ARMM and national figures.
The Comelec also said that applications for transfer, transfer with reactivation, reactivation, correction/change of entries and reinstatement in the Book of Voters received from April 1 to June 14 shall be heard in the Election Registration Board (ERB) hearing on August 20, instead of the earlier scheduled July 16 hearing.
ARMM covers Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur. As of 2011, there were 1.8 million registered voters in ARMM, according to the Comelec website.
ARMM has gained notoriety for election violence and massive cheating. It is important to ensure clean elections in the region since tight national races, especially the senatorial elections, are usually decided in ARMM.
The poll body has earlier requested the concurrence of President Aquino in the deployment of stricter security measures for the voters re-registration in ARMM.
Voters registration in non-ARMM areas will resume on August 1 until October 31. – Rappler.com