WITH only three days left before the Comelec deadline, the Senate on Monday, voting 23-0-0, approved on third and final reading the bill seeking to extend voter registration until October 31, 2021.
Following Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan’s adopted resolutions (SRN 851 and S. Ct. Res. 17), all 24 Senators crafted Senate Bill 2408, which seeks to extend the registration of voters for the 2022 National and Local Elections from September 30, 2021 to October 31, 2021.
“Ginagawa natin ito dahil alam natin na napakahalaga na marinig ang boses ng taumbayan, lalo na ngayon na pandemya at marami tayong nakikitang mali,” Pangilinan said.
Earlier this month, Pangilinan delivered a privilege speech sharing the experience of many citizens wanting to register but were braving long lines without physical distancing and endangering their health amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our voters, including first-time voters, are raring to register. They want to participate in rebuilding the nation from pandemic shambles. They are lining up for hours to register for the chance to choose the course of their future,” the senator said.
“Ang mga pila sa labas ng mga Comelec offices ay patunay na alam ng mga kababayan natin na napakahalaga ng boto ng bawat isa sa kanila,” he added
During last Friday’s Committee on Finance hearing on the proposed 2022 budget of the Commission on Elections, the poll body said that there are already about 61 million registered voters as of September 21, 2021.
According to Comelec, an additional 2.7 million could be added after processing pending voter registration applications.
Following the Philippine Statistics Authority’s projections of 73.3 million qualified voters by May 2022, about 12 million eligible individuals are still unregistered.
Pangilinan thanked his colleagues for unanimously approving the measure extending voter registration and hopes for its immediate passage into law.
The measure still needs the approval of the House of Representatives’ version before submission to the President for his signature.