Press Release
August 11, 2021

4 of 10 registration days in Metro Manila lost in lockdown: Pangilinan

FOUR of 10 registration days have been on lockdown, preventing eligible voters from registering, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said as he urged the Commission on Elections to extend voter's registration by one month, or from September 30 to October 31, 2021.

"Kada sampung araw ng registration, apat ay naka-lockdown. A one-month extension will not extensively hinder Comelec's preparation for the elections, especially given that voter's registration was suspended for half a year," he said.

"We believe that a one-month extension is reasonable and even generous given the period we lost due to pandemic suspensions," he added.

Pangilinan said Comelec set the September 30, 2021 deadline before the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Wala namang nakapag-predict nitong pandemya at ang epekto nito sa voter registration. Kaya dapat lang na mag-adjust ang Comelec," he said.

Pangilinan said Comelec is allowed under Republic Act No. 8189 or the Voter's Registration Act of 1996 to extend the registration period.

Citing the law, he said "no voter's registration must be conducted in a 120 day-period before a regular election and a 90-day period before a special election."

Comelec initially set the voter registration period from January 20, 2020 until September 30, 2021 for the May 9, 2022 national and local elections. But previous national and local elections have set deadlines that are on or before October 31 of the year before elections.

"Six elections before this have set voter's registration deadline in October or even later. We have historical data saying it can work pre-pandemic. It's only reasonable for adjustments to be made while we are under a state of public health emergency," Pangilinan said.

Comelec initially suspended voter's registration from March 9 to August 31, 2020, or a period of five and a half months, due to Covid-19.

Comelec then suspended voter's registration in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

In 2021, voter's registration has already been suspended twice in NCR Plus and other highly urbanized areas.

Pangilinan said Comelec has the prerogative to set the deadline of voter's registration so long as it is by January 9, 2022.

"We lost approximately 28.3% of days dedicated to voter's registration because of suspensions due to Covid. Areas such as Metro Manila lost 38.6% of the registration period. We could have reached so much more people then," he said.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that the estimated voting population for 2022 is 73.3 million.

With the Comelec reporting 60 million registered voters as of June, Pangilinan earlier raised alarm over 13.3 million potentially unregistered voters for 2022.

Voter's registration is currently suspended in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Lucena, and others under ECQ and MECQ for at least until August 20.

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