Why can’t they? A new voter’s plea to register

Published August 30, 2021, 12:12 AM

by Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal


Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal

Last week the palace announced that Metro Manila will continue to be under MECQ until September 7, 2021.  Based on news reports, aside from Metro Manila, the following areas will likewise be under MECQ :

  • Province of Aklan
  • Province of Apayao
  • Province of Bataan
  • Province of Bulacan
  • Province of Cavite
  • Province of Ilocos Norte
  • Province of Iloilo
  • Province of Laguna
  • Province of Rizal
  • Cebu City
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Iloilo City
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Lucena City
  • Mandaue City

Under current guidelines, the processing of applications for voter registration are allowed only in areas under GCQ and MGCQ.  COMELEC City and Municipal offices are closed in areas under ECQ and MECQ.

In Metro Manila, even if NCR is under MECQ, banks, supermarkets, some retail stores and business establishments are open.  Even malls are open.   I have been pushing for allowing people to be able to register even in areas under MECQ.  If people can go to buy food in a supermarket, go to the bank to deposit and withdraw money, buy supplies in the hardware stores, there’s no reason not to allow people to register as voters.

There are two ways wherein which applications for registration and reactivation of registration records is processed.  The first is by personal appearance.  The applicant must submit his/her biometrics to be included in the voter registration database.  A new method, which I wrote about last week (https://mb.com.ph/2021/08/25/breaking-news-reactivate-your-voting-record-online/) is where people who were already registered but deactivated because they failed to vote in two consecutive elections, could do their voter reactivation online.  The new procedure is for the applicant to simply do the reactivation online, provided his/her biometrics are complete or not corrupted.

Surely, there must be protocols that can be resorted to in order to allow the safe processing of applications and reactivation of voter records.  Like I said, if you can go to the grocery store to buy food and snacks, why shouldn’t registration as a voter be any less important?

I hope the IATF, the Department of Health and the Commission on Elections consider this plea.  People should be allowed to register as voters before the deadline of September 30, 2021 in the pursuit of democracy and in advancement of the right of suffrage.

Stay safe. Stay healthy.  Register as a voter.