The Commission on Elections (Comelec) inked a deal with Ayala Malls for the installment of satellite registration sites inside shopping malls, ahead of the September 30 voter registration deadline for the 2022 polls.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas and Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. attended the virtual signing of the memorandum of agreement with Ayala Malls on Monday, August 23. Ayala Land president Bernard Vincent Dy and Ayalaland Malls president Christopher Maglanoc represented the shopping mall chain.
“Having these malls opened to voter registration is a timely initiative considering we are already in the last phase of voter registration for the upcoming 2022 national and local elections,” Abas said in a speech.
The list of Ayala Malls that will cater to voter applicants has yet to be released on Comelec’s Facebook page. In July, the Comelec teamed up with Robinsons for its malls to host satellite registration.
Abas and Kho said the poll body did not make targets as to how many people it could register for the 2022 elections for the duration of the remaining month before the September 30 registration deadline, saying they have met their original targets for next year’s polls.
The Comelec said there are already 60 million people eligible to cast their ballots for the 2022 polls; over four million of them are first-time voters.
“Umaasa kami sa Comelec na ngayong mas pinalawak ang voter registration ay gagamitin ang pagkakataong ito ng ating mga kababayang hindi pa nakakapagparehistro,” Abas added.
(We in the Comelec hope that now that we have expanded voter registration, those who have yet to be eligible for the 2022 polls would take advantage of this opportunity.)
It is, however, important to note that satellite registration inside malls are only operational in areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ.
This means that people in areas that remain under enhanced community quarantine or modified ECQ have yet to benefit from the Comelec’s most recent effort to ramp up voter registration.
The Comelec has rejected calls for an extension of the voter registration deadline, citing operational constraints.
But lawmakers and youth groups fear millions of voters could be disenfranchised if the poll body does not extend the voter registration deadline by at least one month. – Rappler.com