Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has encouraged all qualified Filipino citizens who are not yet registered voters to participate in the ongoing voter registration being led by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
De Lima, a former election lawyer before she entered public service in 2008, made the statement following reports that the Comelec is way behind its target of registering 4 million new voters for the May 9, 2022, general elections.
“With the additional hurdles posed by the COVID-19, we understand that it is extra challenging to register for the 2022 elections, but I hope that qualified Filipinos would not miss their chance to effect change and elect worthy leaders in 2022 by registering to vote,” she said.
“Ang pagboto ay karapatan ng bawat Pilipino. Paraan ito upang mapakinggan at mabigyan ng kakayahang makiambag sa pagpapatibay ng ating demokrasya ang taumbayan, anuman ang kanyang kasarian, paniniwala o estado sa buhay. Tungkulin din ito ng mamamayan para sa tamang pagpili ng mga pinuno na titimon sa ating bayan, lalo na sa panahon na maraming pagsubok sa ating bayan,” she added.
Recently, Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon took to Twitter to announce that the Comelec is “behind our target of 4 [million] new registrants,” adding, “I will propose overtime for our personnel so we can extend registration hours.”
Guanzon said the Comelec has recorded 1,117,528 voter applicants as of January 14. The poll body resumed its voter registration on January 4.
Comelec offices are open Mondays to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accept applications while Friday is the “designated disinfection day” unless prescribed otherwise by the local government.
The Comelec has scheduled the voter registration for next year’s elections from Jan. 20, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021 before the pandemic. The Sept. 30 deadline has not been extended.
The lady Senator from Bicol stressed: “I believe in the weight or power of every vote as a hallmark of our democracy. The loudest voice a person has for or against the government is his/her vote.” (30)