Filipinos in Metro Manila trooped to local offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as voter registration in the region resumed on Monday, May 17, following its shift to more relaxed community quarantine restrictions.
Lines were seen at a local Comelec office in Manila on Monday, with voter applicants braving the heat of the sun.
Voter registration was suspended in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces collectively known as “NCR Plus” from March 29 to May 14, when the area was placed under strict lockdown classifications to quell a surge in COVID-19 cases.
On May 15, “NCR Plus” transitioned to the general community quarantine, a more relaxed lockdown classification that paved the way for the resumption of the Comelec's operations in the region.
In an apparent bid to make up for lost time, the Comelec increased the number of days in a week for voter registration in GCQ and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas.
Since May 10, Offices of the Election Officer (OEOs) have begun accommodating voter applicants from Monday to Friday. Satellite registration sites have also reopened, and are operational every Saturday.
Voter registration hours are from 8 am to 5 pm.
Despite voter registration being halted in the region for nearly two months, Jimenez said in a Rappler Talk episode that aired on May 10 that an extension of the September 30 deadline of voter registration is not in the cards.
The Comelec’s social media pages reminded voter applicants on Monday about the process of registering for the 2022 polls.
Voter applicants must then visit an OEO to submit the requirements and have their biometrics taken. Walk-in applicants are allowed, but those who have booked appointments are prioritized.
The poll body has been optimistic about reaching 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 stands at 1.57 million as of April 15.
As of April 19, there were 58.9 million voters registered to participate in the 2022 elections, the first to be conducted against the backdrop of a pandemic. – Rappler.com