BAGUIO CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here is urging the public to avail of extended work schedules and weekend opening of their offices.
In a social media post on Saturday, Baguio election officer and lawyer John Paul Martin said, “we are open every Saturdays to accommodate requests of the youth and the working sector to register during weekends.”
“We heeded your call. It is your turn to come and file your application for registration,” his post read.
Martin said registration, change address, transfers and other regular services will also be accommodated on Saturdays.
Registration on weekdays was likewise extended until 5 p.m. on Tuesdays to Saturdays, from the previous 3 p.m. Offices are closed every Monday for disinfection.
Registration can be done until September 30, 2021.
Martin earlier said workers and students expressed difficulty visiting the Comelec on weekdays, thus the addition of Saturdays.
“This will give workers ample time to visit and transact with the Comelec,” he said.
Martin assured the registration process will not take long and will have limited interaction. Sanitation areas and barriers have also been installed.
“There is a shorter time of exposure because registrants will only submit their forms and do the biometrics,” said Martin, adding that forms can be downloaded from the Comelec website.
Baguio is eyeing to register about 40,000 more voters, most of them recent 18-year-olds. It currently has 144,309 voters.
“We want to reach the youth voters, the new voters, those who have not exercised their votes in several electoral processes because it is only by making them eligible to cast their votes that they can exercise their right to choose their leaders,” Martin said.
Since registration started in the first quarter of 2020, the city has registered only 6,000 so far. In September when registration resumed, the average daily registration was 40 to 50.
A total of 1,317 registered from January 4 to February 16.
Martin said that with the coronavirus pandemic still around, registration is not among the public’s priorities.
“I hope they will come for registration and will not wait for the deadline to avoid crowding like in the previous years,” he said. (PNA)