MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the deadline for voter registration at least until October 31 due to restrictions brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Under House Resolution No. 2128 shared to the media on Monday, the lawmakers said voter registration suspensions were implemented from March to August due to the placement of certain areas in the country under tighter quarantine classifications.
“While we recognize Comelec’s need to have ample time to prepare the final list of voters, which is a prerequisite for the preparation and completion of the Project of Precincts (POP), the youth and the people believe that at least a month extension would not delay that much Comelec’s preparation for the POP,” the lawmakers said.
Voter registration for the 2022 national elections is set until September 30 this year.
The lawmakers, however, pointed out that in the past, Comelec had set deadlines that are on or even beyond October 31 of the year before the elections.
“Thus, extending voter registration is all the more a prudent thing to do and is also already an imperative as we have just and heavier reasons to reimplement it now more than ever,” the lawmakers said.
“The September 30 deadline was set before the COVID-19 pandemic and it now falls upon the Comelec’s prerogative to adjust the deadline due to the ramifications of the pandemic,” they added.
The Makabayan bloc is composed of Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Jane Elago; Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Eufemia Cullamat, and Ferdinand Gaite; Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro.
Several senators have likewise earlier urged the Comelec to extend the voter registration period to October 31 this year.
Senators Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Joel Villanueva earlier filed a resolution on the matter, saying that the extension would avoid disenfranchising voters who are unable to register due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status over Metro Manila and other areas.