The Commission on Elections (Comelec) increased the number of days in a week for voter registration in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ), as the Philippines marked one year before the 2022 national elections.
On Monday, May 10, the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) began accommodating voter applicants from Monday to Friday, from the previous schedule of Monday to Thursday.
Additionally, the Comelec reopened satellite registration sites, which are now operational on Saturdays. The poll body suspended the operations of the sites in March, amid the surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.
“Reception of applications for registration will be from Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm,” the Comelec said in a press statement on May 10. Previously, voter registration hours were until 3 pm only.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez however noted that offsite registration may be conducted when the OEO is closed on the local government unit’s scheduled disinfection day.
“As the schedule may vary per locality, the public is advised to stay tuned to the announcements of their local Comelec offices,” Jimenez said.
Deadline extension not being discussed
While voter registration in many parts of the Philippines is ongoing, local Comelec offices in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces collectively known as “NCR Plus” have yet to resume operations, as these areas are under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the second strictest form of lockdown in the Philippines.
However, in a Rappler Talk episode that aired on May 10, Jimenez said an extension of the September 30 deadline of voter registration is not in the cards.
“We haven’t discussed an extension at any point. Even though ‘NCR Plus’ is on lockdown for a month and a half, the rest of the country has gone on registering,” he said.
The poll body is optimistic to register its target of four million new voters before the deadline.
The number of new voter applicants as of May 6 is around 2.8 million — around 1.6 million of them classified as first-time registrants, according to Jimenez. Rappler’s tracker is at 1.57 million as of April 15.
Over 60 million voters are expected to participate in the 2022 national elections, the first to be conducted against the backdrop of a pandemic. – Rappler.com