Comelec urged to expand satellite voter’s registration, buy more biometric scanners
Robie de Guzman • February 8, 2021 • 365
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to expand its satellite voters’ registration program and purchase more biometric scanners in order to facilitate a speedy voter’s registration.
In a statement, Drilon stressed that Congress has allotted sufficient funds to the Comelec under the 2020 and 2021 national budgets and that the poll body should use it to “buy more biometric gadgets, hire more consultants or job order employees and even rent out a bigger space or venue of voter registration.”
“Huwag na po nating tipirin ang budget. Kung kailangan dalhin sa bawat barangay ang voters’ registration, the Comelec must do it,” he said.
The senator said the lack of sufficient biometric scanner further slows down the registration process.
“Even if people go to the Comelec office to register, the Comelec has no capacity to accommodate a large number of applicants per day for a number of reasons, which include insufficient manpower and inadequate number of biometric scanners,” he said.
He also noted the lack of bigger Comelec offices in all districts to accommodate a large number of applicants.
Drilon believes that installing satellite voter registration sites is a solution within the law that the poll body should maximize and use efficiently to increase voters for the 2022 national and local elections.
The senator pointed out that due to COVID-19 health protocols, Comelec offices in the country have to limit the number of registrants they could accommodate in a day.
Citing Comelec data, Drilon said there are still three million new voters to be registered and seven million who need to renew their registration because they have not voted in the last two elections.
“There is no way the Comelec can reach its target number of voters for next year’s election at that rate of 50 to 70 registrants per day. We are running out of time. COMELEC should intensify its efforts to install more registration sites,” he said.
Drilon said the poll body can organize satellite registration in open courts, churches, schools with safety protocols followed to cover more applicants.
He also urged the commission to consider putting more than one satellite registration sites for cities with voting big populations.
“They can coordinate with the homeowner’s association to open their clubhouse or basketball courts for the registration. They can coordinate with the churches to open their doors. The National Secretariat of Social Action had offered to facilitate opening up of the Churches,” he added.
Comelec should hire more people to manage the satellite registration all over the country, he added.
“Let’s hire those IT people who lost their jobs. They know how to operate biometric machines. It can generate income for them for at least three to four months. They can be accompanied by a Comelec civil servant who can supervise the operation,” Drilon said.
Comelec earlier said it has extended the registration hours for new voters, opening its offices even on Saturdays to encourage more registrants.
The poll body said it is also eyeing the implementation of barangay satellite registration to accommodate more applications but added that it would depend on the contamination rate in the area.
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to call for a special Congressional session for the immediate passage of the proposed third Bayanihan Law or the Bayanihan to Arise as One Act that seeks to provide emergency cash assistance to families affected by the stricter protocols against COVID-19.
“I urge the President to call a special session of Congress to pass the proposed Bayanihan 3 and expand the government’s cash subsidy program amid the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Drilon said in a statement.
The senator said there is a need to provide more funding for the government’s response against COVID-19 in order to help the poor and the vulnerable sectors of society and small and medium enterprises heavily affected by the pandemic.
“Kailangan tugunan ito. Sa akin, kailangang tumawag ng special session ang Pangulo para po matugunan ito. Mag-realign ng mga items na hindi kailangan,” he said.
Drilon made the call after Malacañang said that the government will not extend additional aid for low-income families despite the one-week extension of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna.
Drilon believes that affected families should continuously be provided with assistance due to difficulties they may experience amid the ECQ period.
In a radio interview, the senator also called for the realignment of some items in the General Appropriation Act to boost the government’s fund for COVID-19 response.
Under Article VI, Section 15 of the Constitution, the President is allowed to call a special session at any time.
Congress is currently on session break until May 17.
MANILA, Philippines — Voter registration in the National Capital Region (NCR) and four nearby areas will remain suspended with the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR Plus, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announced Monday.
In an advisory, COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez said that voter registration in the NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal – tagged as NCR Plus – is still suspended and all election offices in the said areas will remain temporarily closed.
“From April 5 to 11, 2021, voter registration will still be suspended in all offices of the Election Officers (OEO) in NCR Plus, as well as in the Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) in the main office and its satellite offices,” Jimenez said.
During the same period, the poll body said the issuance of voter’s certification in said OEOs and the COMELEC main office in Intramuros will likewise remain suspended.
“Despite the physical closure of COMELEC offices in NCR Plus, we will continue to discharge our duties and serve the public,” Jimenez said.
“For any concern, the various offices may be reached through their official email addresses which may be accessed at comelec.gov.ph,” he added.
On Saturday, the national government extended the ECQ in NCR plus areas until April 11 amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The poll body said that during this period, e-filing of documents may be done pursuant to the COMELEC guidelines on electronic filing.
“Under Resolution No. 10673, the COMELEC will continue receiving, via e-mail, petitions, verified pleadings, memoranda, comments, briefs, and other submissions, in PDF format,” Jimenez said.
For the rest of the country, COMELEC said voter registration will resume on April 5, Monday.
“Applications will be accepted from Mondays to Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. but the issuance of the voter’s certification is until 5 p.m. Friday is the COMELEC-designated disinfection day, in addition to the LGU-prescribed disinfection, if any,” it added.
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announced it will continue to accept online filing of petitions for registration of party-list organizations and political parties despite the re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Region (NCR) and neighboring provinces.
Under Resolution 10673, COMELEC said it will continue receiving, via e-mail, petitions, verified pleadings, memoranda, comments, briefs, and other submissions in PDF format.
“With the rapidly approaching March 31, 2021 deadline for the filing of petitions for registration of party-list organizations and the submission of manifestations of intent to participate, we expect a massive influx of petitions in the coming week,” COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez said in a statement on Sunday
He also said that e-mails sent to the address email@example.com and received by the 5 p.m. deadline will be considered filed on time.”
“The payment of docket fees and other legal fees for the petition for registration of party-list organizations also need to be done on or before March 31, 2021,” Jimenez emphasized.
After filing through e-mail, the poll body said that the filing party shall send, through the fastest means available, hard copies of all petitions, pleadings, and other submissions, with complete annexes in four hard copies.
Proof of payment of the required fees, deposits, and fines, if any, should also be submitted.
The NCR and four nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal have been placed under ECQ from March 29 to April 4 to curb the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
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