By Romer Butuyan
MANILA — The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms has approved a consolidated measure, including the proposed law filed by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, mandating the government to allow online system for voter’s registration.
Under HB 7063, it seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8184, otherwise known as the “Voter’s Registration Act of 1996” to ensure an “enabling environment” for people to register as voters amid the pandemic crisis.
“By adopting a system for online voter’s registration, we do not just make our electoral system more resilient to unexpected calamities such as the COVID-19 pandemic but also create a system that provides the Filipino electorate and our government an efficient, convenient, and cost-effective mechanism for voter’s registration in the long term,” Romualdez stressed.
RENTAL SUBSIDY FOR ‘SQUATTER FAMILIES’ PASSED
In addition, Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez announced the approval of a substitute bill that aims on providing financial assistance to the homeless while waiting for government-built permanent housing.
The ranking House official lamented that as per data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are around 4.5 million homeless people in the country, three million of which are in Metro Manila.
Under the proposed measure, a monthly rental subsidy of P3,500 will be given to qualified informal settler families (ISFs) in Metro Manila.
SPEAKER VELASCO ASKS DOTr TO EXTEND RFID INSTALLATION
Meanwhile, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has appealed to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to extend the deadline for the installation of radio-frequency identification (RFID) stickers for vehicles using the tollways until the first quarter of 2021.
“At the rate things are going, I don’t think all 6.1 million registered vehicles in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and CALABARZON will be provided with RFID stickers by Jan. 11, 2021,” the House leader said.
Velasco stressed that DOTr should also consider the fact that the pandemic has constrained many vehicle owners from leaving their homes and apply for RFID stickers.
“It would be more practicable if the deadline is further extended to March 31, 2021 to give all our motorists enough time to secure the stickers for the cashless payment system given that we are still in a pandemic where movement of people is limited,” Velasco pointed out
He likewise shared the observations made by the House Committee on Transportation, which conducted a motu-proprio hearing last Nov. 25 in anticipation of the problems arising from the implementation of the cashless payment scheme at tollways.
Based on its calculation, the committee said it would take more than two years for all vehicles using the tollways to be provided with the RFID stickers.
Transportation Committee chair Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Sarmiento also noted that Thailand and Indonesia took a year and a half on the average to be fully cashless. (AI/FC/MTVN)