MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported last week that the number of registered voters without biometrics nationwide stands at 3.5 million as of July 2015, down from 9.6 million first recorded in May 2014. An additional 445,000 voters have incomplete biometrics.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista credited this development to the poll body's "No Bio, No Boto" (No Biometrics, No Vote) campaign, where voters are encouraged to have their biometrics data captured not only in local Comelec offices, but also in select malls and barangays nationwide.
Composed of the voter's digital fingerprints, photograph, and signature, the biometrics data need to be submitted by voters so they could vote in 2016 and in future polls. This is a requirement set by Republic Act 10367. (READ: Comelec defends 'unconstitutional' biometrics requirement)
The Comelec hopes to close the gap by October 31, the last day of voters' registration and biometrics validation for the 2016 national and local elections. (READ: How to register for the 2016 elections)
Where are these 3.5 million voters who still lack biometrics? The map below shows the figures per province and in select cities as of July 20, 2015.
Click on a province or city to see statistics on voters there who still have biometrics issues. Percentages reflected on the map are the combined figures for voters without and with incomplete biometrics.
Counting only voters without biometrics, the province of Kalinga leads the list, with 20.86% of voters there affected. Among the top 5, it is followed by Cotabato City, San Juan City in Metro Manila, Davao City, and the province of Palawan.
Seven areas in the top 10 are found in Mindanao. If data for voters with incomplete biometrics are included, Cotabato City and Isabela City would place first and second overall. The two cities are considered special provinces by the Comelec.
Data for the the 6th district of Quezon City and the 1st district of Caloocan City have yet to be included in the Comelec's July 2015 report. But as of April 2015, the said districts had 23,983 voters (16.45% of total registered voters there) and 43,928 voters (10.75%), respectively, still without biometrics.
On the other hand, the top 5 provinces with the least number of voters without biometrics all belong to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), a "problem area" in past elections, but which has shown improvement in recent polls.
The 3 provinces topping the list – Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi, and Lanao del Sur – even reported that all of the voters there already have complete biometrics.
This is attributed to the general registration conducted in 2012 in the ARMM, in time for the 2013 regional elections.
"Their old records were scrapped. Then we conducted the general registration for two weeks, so all of them have new records now. All of them have biometrics," said Dindo Maglasang of the registration division of the Comelec Election Barangay Affairs Division.
In Metro Manila, among its 5.4 million registered voters, nearly 7% or around 350,000 still have no biometrics, while nearly 52,000 have incomplete biometrics data. San Juan City, Quezon City, Taguig City, and Manila are among those with the highest percentage of voters with biometrics issues.
Maglasang said that the Comelec had sent notices via mail to the voters who need to complete their biometrics data.
Registered voters who will fail to validate their biometrics data by October 31 would have their voter records deactivated, said the Comelec. – Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.