Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday said qualified Filipino citizens who are not yet registered voters should sign up and participate in the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) ongoing voter registration.
De Lima made the call after Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon took to Twitter to announce that the poll body is “behind our target of 4 (million) new registrants.”
De Lima said that even though the COVID-19 pandemic poses additional hurdles in the country’s upcoming elections in 2022, Filipinos should not miss their chance to exercise their right to suffrage.
“With the additional hurdles posed by the COVID-19, we understand that it is extra challenging to register for the 2022 elections. But I hope that qualified Filipinos would not miss their chance to effect change and elect worthy leaders in 2022 by registering to vote,” De Lima said.
According to Guanzon, she will propose overtime pay for Comelec personnel “so we can extend registration hours.”
De Lima, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration, said Filipinos should seize the opportunity to vote and help in usher a new breed of leadership in the Philippines.
“Tungkulin ito ng mamamayan para sa tamang pagpili ng mga pinuno na titimon sa ating bayan, lalo na sa panahon na maraming pagsubok sa ating bayan (It’s a duty of the people to wisely choose leaders who will lead the nation, especially during this critical times),” she stressed.
“I believe in the weight or power of every vote as a hallmark of our democracy. The loudest voice a person has for or against the government is his/her vote,” the opposition lawmaker further said.
As of January 14, Guanzon said the Comelec has recorded 1,117,528 voter applicants.
Comelec offices are open weekly from Mondays to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accept applications. However, the poll body is closed during Fridays for disinfection, unless prescribed otherwise by the local government.
The Comelec has also scheduled the voter registration for next year’s elections from Jan. 20, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021 before the pandemic. The poll body has yet to decide whether to extend the Sept. 30, 2021 deadline.