Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the voter registration period especially in areas affected by the 15-day enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Hontiveros noted there is no word yet if the current deadline, September 30, 2021, would be moved.
“Sayang ‘yong period from August 6 to 20. Especially for some of our first time voters, some of them are not even eligible for vaccination,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“It is only logical to extend the voter registration period by at least two more weeks. It’s two more weeks that may prove critical for our country’s future,” she added.
Last May, the poll body’s spokesperson, James Jimenez, expressed concern about changing the deadline, adding it was not likely to extend the voter registration period because there are other things to prepare aside from the official voter’s list.
But the senator said the challenges brought about by the pandemic should be considered as “extraordinary circumstances.”
She also pointed out that the voter registration process was already stalled several times due to fears over the pandemic.
“I agree that deadlines should be observed. But, hopefully, in this case, COMELEC can make one last necessary extension,” she stressed.
“I hope they won’t put into ‘quarantine’ the rights of voters to cast their vote,” she said.
Hontiveros earlier called on Congress to consider increasing the Comelec’s budget to give it ample time and resources to prepare for the 2022 elections in light of the major health adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19’s Delta variant has already disrupted our communities. Let it not get in the way of our citizens’ desire to participate in the May 2022 elections,” she emphasized.