W. Visayas voters’ registration feels COVID-19 pinch with low turnout

Published February 17, 2021, 11:11 AM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC-6) has linked the threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to low voters’ registration in Western Visayas region.

Former COMELEC Commissioner Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal (right) and COMELEC-6 Regional Director Dennis Ausan joined the poll body’s regional office in Iloilo City during the February 16 launching a new work week to boost number of voters who will register. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

Atty. Dennis Ausan, COMELEC regional director for Western Visayas, said the pandemic and the attitude of people to wait until the last minute to register are the main contributing factors to low registration.

From September 1, 2020 to February 11 this year, COMELEC-6 only recorded 72,231 people as new voters.

This is less than 25 percent of COMELEC-6’s target as new voters for the upcoming May 2022 elections.

By September 30 of this year, COMELEC-6 is eyeing 400,000 new voters to register in the region comprising of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces as well as the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod.

To boost the number of new registrants, former COMELEC Commissioner Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal joined the poll body’s regional office in Iloilo City in the Tuesday launching of a new work week program.

“People can go to restaurants, to supermarkets, to malls and parks [after strict lockdown has been lifted]. If they can go to these places, they can definitely go to their local COMELEC office to register,” Larrazabal noted.

New voters can now register at their local COMELEC offices from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 8AM to 5PM. COMELEC offices will also be opened during holidays.