Comelec to resume voter registration in Dec., set to pilot test Register Anywhere Project in Metro Manila

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Thursday, Oct. 27 that it will resume local and overseas voter registration on Dec. 9, 2022, until Jan. 31, 2023.

New registrants flock to the Comelec office in Arroceros, Manila on July 7, 2022 as the poll body continues the voter registration. (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement sent by Comelec Spokesman John Rex Laudiangco, he said that the Comelec en banc in its regular meeting also decided to conduct the operational plan for the pilot testing of the Register Anywhere Project (RAP) in five select malls/satellite registration sites in the National Capital Region (NCR).

He said that for local voter registration, qualified citizens may submit the documentary requirements and have their biometrics data captured at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO), or at any satellite registration site having jurisdiction over their residence.

In addition to the duly filled-out application form, applicants must present and submit competent proof of identity as may be allowed by the COMELEC, or the appropriate affidavit of identification sworn under law. Minimum public health standards will be strictly enforced in all registration sites.

Overseas voters who intend to participate in the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections must transfer their registration records from overseas to local. They have until Jan. 31 2023 to file their application at the OEO in the locality where they intend to vote.

Meanwhile, RAP will be piloted in five select NCR malls, and will be conducted every Saturday and Sunday from Dec. 10, 2022 until Jan. 29, 2023 (except December 24, 25 and 31, 2022, and January 1, 2023).

Laudiangco stated that applicants may proceed to the RAP booths of the select NCR malls to submit the required documents, have their oaths administered and have their biometrics data captured right then and there, even if they reside in another city or municipality.

"This innovative RAP project is expected to bring voter registration closer to the public, and ultimately make the process convenient and citizen-centric, as any qualified Filipino residing anywhere in the country now have the option and ease of access to register in NCR," he said.

He explained that the submitted documents and captured biometrics data shall then be endorsed and transmitted by the recipient RAP teams to the OEO of the district/city/municipality having jurisdiction over the residence of the applicant for the requisite verification, publication/posting and Election Registration Board (ERB) Hearing.

Laudiangco also told reporters in a text message that the Commission en banc, for now, decided to set the period of voter registration to pave the way for the full pilot testing and thereafter conduct a comprehensive post-activity-assessment of the initial implementation of RAP in NCR.

"Please note that the Commission, in its inherent power to extend the period for registration beyond January 31, 2023, ultimately intends to implemen RAP nationwide based on the lessons to be learned and challenges to be faced and hurdled in the NCR Pilot Testing," he said.

"The initial period for registration likewise would afford the Commission, through the concerted efforts of its Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD), Information Technology Department (ITD) and the Field Officers, to verify and cleanse the Voter’s List, abate double and multiple registrants, especially those of the new applicants," he added.