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CEBU, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) aims to achieve a 5% increase in the number of registered voters nationwide for the upcoming May 2025 local elections.
Comelec Region 7 director, lawyer Lionel Castillano, said on Monday, February 12, that one of the strategies to accomplish this goal is the implementation of the Register Anywhere Program (RAP) in highly urbanized cities in the country, including those in Cebu and capital towns and cities in other islands of the region.
“We will only conduct the RAP once a month because it is just an additional service of the Comelec. We will hold the RAP during our satellite registration, where we will have those booths,” Castillano explained in Cebuano.
Nationwide, there are 67.8 million registered voters, going by the latest Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in October 2023. A 5% increase in registered voters nationwide translates to over 3 million new voters.
As of October 2023, Central Visayas has a total of 5,415,071 registered voters, with the majority, or 3,384,198 voters, coming from Cebu, 981,785 from Bohol, 968,874 from Negros Oriental, and 20,214 from Siquijor.
Castillano said the main purpose of the RAP is to accommodate students and workers based in highly urbanized cities and capital towns and cities who may still want to vote in their home provinces.
“Usually, these students and workers can only make time during the weekend, that’s why we’ll conduct the satellite registration on weekends at the malls,” he added.
For Cebu City, Castillano said the pilot implementation of RAP will take place at the University of San Carlos in the morning of February 28 and at the Cebu Doctors’ University in the afternoon of the same day.
He said the RAP will take place in Tagbilaran City for Bohol, Dumaguete City for Negros Oriental, and Siquijor in Siquijor.
Castillano advised the public to follow Comelec Facebook pages where they will post the schedule for satellite registration and the RAP in the coming months.
He also clarified that their daily registration will continue at the Comelec district offices, in addition to satellite registrations and RAP implementation.
Voter registration for new registrants resumed on February 12 and will end on September 30.
The Comelec initiated its satellite registration years ago to accommodate registrants in far-flung areas and those who are financially constrained. – Rappler.com
Wenilyn Sabalo, a community journalist currently affiliated with SunStar Cebu, is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow of Rappler for 2023-2024.