Poll chief on voter registration: 'Don't expect any extension'

The Filipino mentality of 'bukas na lang' or delaying things that can be done at the present time, is not good as far the voter registration is concerned, the top official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Monday, Jan. 23.

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)

According to Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia, the poll body will be sticking to the deadline it has set for voter registration which is Jan. 31 and told the public not to expect an extension.

"The deadline will be Jan. 31. Come out and register," Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia said in a television interview on CNN.

Garcia stated that the Register Anywhere Program (RAP) is still available for eligible applicants. Under it, applicants may proceed to the RAP booths nearest to them 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.

Transactions accepted in the ongoing program are the registration of new voters for both the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) and the regular elections, updating and correction of record entries, reactivation, and transfer of registration.

On Monday (Jan. 23), Garcia said that the poll body launched a RAP booth at the central office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Quezon City. On Jan. 25, it will also be launched at the Senate of the Philippines in Pasay city and on Jan. 25 to 26 it will be launched at the House of Representatives in Quezon City.

"All our Comelec offices nationwide are open to accept Mondays to Saturdays. So again, this is an appeal to our people, please register as a voter," Garcia stated.

He also explained that given the current circumstances, they cannot think of any reason for an extension of the deadline since they have fully informed the people regarding the registration. Garcia mentioned that they only suspended voter registration in some areas due to flooding and they can grant an extension given that scenario.

Yet under ordinary circumstances, the poll chief stated that it is really not a good idea to always extend if there is a deadline, so they will be sticking to the Jan. 31 deadline. There should be no more excuses for people not to register.

So far, a total of 1,028,000 have registered, Garcia said. He added that they are hoping to get 1.5 million to 2 million registrants in the whole voting period from Dec. 12 to Jan. 31.