FILIPINOS lining up as early as 2 a.m. proves that voter registration needs to be extended, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Thursday, a week before the September 30 deadline.
“Kitang-kita sa mahahabang pila madaling araw pa lang na sabik ang mga kababayan natin na makaboto. Huwag nating ipagkait ito (The long, early morning lines show clearly that our fellow Filipinos are eager to vote. Do not disenfranchise them),” he said.
The Senate on Tuesday approved on second reading Senate Bill 2408 or An Act Extending the Registration of Voters for the 2022 National and Local Elections.
This is following Pangilinan-authored Senate Resolution 851 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 17, urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to move the voter registration deadline from September 30 to October 31, 2021.
“Kahit pa may banta ng Covid ay hinaharap ng mga pumipila. Hindi pwedeng i-ghost lang ng Comelec ang mga pila. Kailangang i-extend ang voter registration (Those who are lining up are doing so even at the risk of Covid. Comelec cannot simply ignore the lines. The period for voter registration must be extended),” Pangilinan said.
According to Comelec, the number of registered voters as of September 18 is 62,470,000.
Pangilinan, however, notes that data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the eligible voting population for 2022 is 73.3 million.
This leaves 10.83 million qualified voters that are yet to register.
“Hindi sapat ang isang linggo para i-accommodate ang lahat ng gustong magpa-rehistro. Inuulit ko: Ang September 30 deadline ay pre-pandemic deadline. Hindi kinonsider ang mga restriction ng pandemya (One week is not enough to accommodate all those who still want to register. I reiterate: the deadline is a pre-pandemic deadline. It was not made to accommodate all the pandemic restrictions),” Pangilinan said.
“The least Comelec can do is to extend the registration,” he added.
The Comelec will face the Senate tomorrow, September 23, for deliberations on their budget.
The Senate is expected to pass Senate Bill 2408 once session resumes on Monday, September 27.
Link to Sen. Kiko’s privilege speech delivered on 14 September 2021: https://youtu.be/dvesPjk5AQQ?t=11848
Speaker Velasco filing a counterpart bill: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1154331