Hontiveros urges COMELEC to extend voter registration period in areas under ECQ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 2, 2021   •   518

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros has called on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to extend the voter registration period in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“It is only logical to extend the voter registration period by at least two more weeks. It’s two more weeks that may prove critical for our country’s future,” she said.

COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez has earlier expressed concern about moving the target schedule, adding the poll body is not likely to extend the voter registration period because there are other things to prepare aside from the official voter’s list.

However, the senator says the challenges brought on by the pandemic must be considered as “extraordinary circumstances”.

“I agree that deadlines should be observed. But, hopefully, in this case, COMELEC can make one last necessary extension,” said Hontiveros.

“COVID-19’s Delta variant has already disrupted our communities. Let it not get in the way of our citizens’ desire to participate in the May 2022 elections,” she added.

COMELEC already suspended voter registration in areas under ECQ from August 6 to 20. AAC

Comelec mulls over 3 set-ups of polling precincts in 2022 NLE

Maris Federez   •   October 26, 2021

Manila, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants to come up with the best precinct set-up for the 2022 national and local elections amid the pandemic.

For this, the commission is studying three layouts that can be used come election day.

The first layout is one that has a holding area and an adjacent room that will serve as a voting room.

The second layout will have three separate rooms for the holding area, voting room, and room with the vote-counting machine (VCM).

The third layout, on the other hand, is a single room that will serve as a holding area, a voting room, and the location of the VCM.

“It is a comparative study essentially. Titingnan natin kung anong mas efficient kung ‘yong VCM ay nakahiwalay na kwarto so that in one room puro fill up lang. Dito sa baba ang set up natin is fill up and actual use of the VCM in the same room,” said Comelec spokesperson Director James Jimenez.

Meanwhile, Comelec Executive Director for Operations Atty. Teopisto Elnas said that among the things for their consideration is the number of manpower to deploy that their budget can afford.

“Tinitingnan natin ngayon ‘yan. And, tinititingnan natin sa isang voting center ilan ang manpower requirements na kakailaganin natin and ibabangga natin yan sa current ano budget ng binibigay sa Comelec,” Elnas said.

The Comelec also plans to conduct several voting simulations as the need arises. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

Vaccination, not a requirement to vote — Comelec

Maris Federez   •   October 25, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) maintains that there is no law that requires a person to get vaccinated first before he or she can vote in the May 2022 national and local elections.

According to Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Atty. Teofisto Elnas, a voter will not be asked to present his vaccination card come election day.

“Lalo na ina-anticipate natin na on election day na meron at meron pang walang vaccination or yung mga taong hindi nagpa-vaccine for whaterver reason makakaboto pa rin sila and they are not to present ‘yong vaccination card,” Elnas said.

Comelec spokesperson Director James Jimenez, meanwhile, said there is no alternative way for a confirmed COVID-19 positive patient or those in an isolation facility to vote during the elections.

“Paano naman ‘yong may mga sakit din? May pneumonia, may cancer? Hindi naman sila makakaboto. So if you’re sick, we recommend that you stay for treatment or if you are contagious, stay away from people. I think that’s, shall we say, fair,” Jimenez said.

The poll body, however, said that they are willing to extend the voting hours so that more voters will be given the opportunity to cast their votes.

“Just in case at the end of the voting hours meron at meron pa ring mga botante na nakapila or mga botante within the voting center, uubusin yan hanggang matapos yan. Tatapusin yan. So, in effect mag-i-extend tayo ng voting hours natin,” Elnas said.

Comelec reminds voters that wearing face masks and face shields will be strictly implemented on election day.

Voter registration is still ongoing until October 30.

As of September 30, Comelec has recorded 63 million registered voters. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

Comelec marks successful voting simulation

Maris Federez   •   October 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported that the simulation on voting protocols conducted over the weekend was a success.

Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Atty. Teopisto Elnas said the operational procedure on Saturday’s simulation held in San Juan City was well executed and the minimum health standards were strictly followed.

Upon entry to the polling center, voters went through the health screening process to check their temperature.

Those with high temperatures would have to proceed to the isolation polling place to vote and would be endorsed to the health officer on stand-by.

Those who had no problem during health screening were directed to the voter’s assistance desk to check their voting precinct.

“Pagpasok nakikita natin gaano kahalaga yong mga signages at saka yong mga paalala at saka yong mga instructional ano natin posters natin to the voters natin para ma-guide ang voters natin,” Elnas said.

“At saka nakikita din natin ang kahalagan  ng voters assistance desk wherein ina-assist yong mga botante in informing them kung ano yung specific cluster precinct nila, precinct sequence nila and of course yong specific location ng kanilang polling place,” he added.

An emergency accessible polling place was also set up for pregnant women, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens.

The voting precincts were well-ventilated and the number of voters allowed inside was limited to maintain physical distancing during the course of the simulation.

Rodrigo Dasigan, a volunteer test voter, hopes that the same discipline and order applied in the simulation will also be practiced on the actual day of the elections.

“Maganda siya, sana ganun din sa eleksyon. Magkaroon ng disiplina ang tao,” he said.

Comelec spokesperson Director James Jimenez noted how their prepared procedures have actually worked during the simulation process and how the said system will hold in the actual election day amid the pandemic.

“The next step really is to find out if they will hold up under volume. Pag dumami na yong taong gumagamit ng sistema kaya pa rin ba ng sistema? There will be other opportunities in the future to check volume,” Jimenez said.

“Sa ngayon hindi namin talaga inexpect na makikita natin yong impact ng volume. Ang point talaga natin dito is to see if our procedures will work and, so far, they have worked,” he further noted. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

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