MANILA, Philippines – A larger-than-usual crowd of applicants filled voter registration sites across the Philippines on the day of the deadline, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said registration remained orderly.
The poll body, in a statement, said that reports from the ground on Tuesday, January 31, indicated that registration sites averaged 600 applications.
“In spite of the high influx of registrants, lines were manageable and queueing was smooth, with zero untoward incidents reported,” Comelec spokesman Rex Laudiangco said.
The final tally of new voter registrants has yet to be announced, but Comelec Chairman George Garcia expressed confidence earlier on Tuesday that the poll body would surpass the 1.5-million mark.
As of Friday, January 27, the Comelec had processed 1.24 million application forms submitted by first-time voter registrants.
Successful applicants will be able to cast their ballots for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled on October 30.
The electoral exercise has a recent history of delay: it was postponed three times under the Duterte administration, and one more time under the Marcos administration.
Advocates of the postponement cited pandemic-driven setbacks, and even the division caused by the 2022 national elections, as among the reasons to reschedule the barangay polls once set for December 2022.
Poll watchdogs, however, insisted that the delay takes away Filipinos’ right to regularly elect their leaders. – Rappler.com
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