Press Release
February 8, 2021

Drilon to Comelec: Expand satellite voters' registration, buy more fingerprint scanners

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon urged the Commission on Election (Comelec) to expand its satellite voters' registration program and purchase more biometric scanners in order to facilitate a speedy voter's registration.

"The Congress has allocated sufficient funds to the Comelec under the 2020 and 2021 national budgets. Let us 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," Drilon said.

"Huwag na po nating tipirin ang budget. Kung kailangan dalhin sa bawat barangay ang voters' registration, the Comelec must do it," he added.

Drilon said installing satellite voter registration sites is a solution within the law that Comelec should maximize and use efficiently to increase voters for the 2022 national and local elections.

Drilon said it is obvious that due to Covid-19 health protocols, Comelec offices throughout the country have to limit the number of registrants they could accommodate in a day, which based on feedback from the people who had to Comelec, is only around 50 to 70 per day.

Based on the Comelec data, 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," Drilon said.

The lack of sufficient biometric scanner further slows down the process, Drilon, adding that there is only one biometric scanner per Comelec office.

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.

The lack of bigger Comelec offices in all districts to accommodate a large number of applicants adds to the problem, he observed.

Drilon said the Comelec can organize satellite registration in open courts, churches, schools with safety protocols followed to cover more applicants.

It must also consider putting more than one satellite registration sites for cities with voting big populations, he added.

"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.

He added that Comelec should hire more people to manage the satellite registration all over the country.

"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.

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