Voter registration extension unlikely - Garcia

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Erwin Garcia reminded the public that an extension of the ongoing voter registration is highly unlikely.

Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia talks during a press conference at their office in Intramuros, Manila on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023. (Ali Vicoy)

Garcia said that an extension of the ongoing registration is unlikely to happen as this has not been discussed in any of the Commission deliberations, thus, the public should not pin their hopes that there will be such after the end of this month.

"Huwag po kayong aasa sa mga sabi-sabi na ie-extend ng Comelec. Eh paano po kung hindi namin i-extend 'yung registration... Sayang naman po na kayo ay makakapagsabi kung sino ang gusto n'yong leader ng inyong barangay (Do not relay on mere rumors that Comelec will extend it. What if we will not extend the registration...It's a wasted opportunity since you're the one who can tell who's the fitting leader of your barangay," Garcia said in a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

"'Yung nirereklamo n'yong barangay officials, 'yung mga gusto n'yong barangay officials, eh kahit paano magkakaroon kayo ngayon ng dahilan upang sila'y ihalal o hindi ihalal kung kayo ay rehistradong botante (The village officials that you've been complaining about, the village officials you want, in a way you'll have a reason to elect or not to elect them if you're a registered voter)," he added.

With a little less than a month remaining before the continuing voter registration ends on January 31, 2023, Comelec made a renewed call for qualified voters to avail of the poll body's program as it resumed on Tuesday (Jan. 3).

According to Comelec's data, the December 12 to December 30, 2022 registration yielded the following numbers: New Sangguniang Kabataan voter applicants (aged 15 to 17) reached 60,491. New registrants for the age bracket of 18 to 30 years old, topped at 101,944. Regular registration applicants (21 years old and above) numbered 25,694.

The poll body is targeting to add about 1.5 to 2 million new voters by the end of the registration period. This is hoped to be achieved by encouraging more applicants to register earlier than the deadline through the intensification of programs such as satellite registration, Register Anywhere Project (RAP), and the quad-media presence (social media, television, radio, and print).

Comelec said that the RAP is continuously being worked on to broaden its reach. Aside from the SM and Robinsons malls, Comelec is also set to commence at the Senate of the Philippines and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), while at the same time aiming to involve at least two universities in the said endeavor.

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.