ILOILO CITY – The city government here has appealed for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) En Banc to extend the voter’s registration for 30 days to allow more Filipinos to register and cast their votes in next year’s elections.
“The city of Iloilo has been placed under a series of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ in the past few months. Due to these events, the voter’s registration in the city was hampered and postponed several times,” said Mayor Jerry P. Treñas in a letter dated Sept. 20 and released to media on Tuesday.
He added that the pandemic has made it difficult for some citizens to register on their given schedule.
With the extension, he said more Filipinos would be able to exercise their right to vote and elect those who they think would be the country’s best leaders.
“As a democratic country, the voice of the people is important and relevant in the government. A huge number of new voters are yet to register,” he added.
The registration in this city resumed on Sept. 6 under Comelec Resolution 10718 after it was temporarily suspended from May 24, 2021, since the metro was placed under MECQ.
Elections Assistant Jonathan Sayno, in an interview, said the registration is overwhelming.
From Sept. 6 to Sept. 20, they have already registered 8, 666 applicants; 70 percent are first-time voters.
He said that their satellite registration conducted at the University of Iloilo on Monday showed that 902 of their 1, 294 registrants were first-time voters.
Sayno added that it feels good to see new registrants trooping to the satellite center as early as 1 a.m. even if they officially open at 8 a.m.
“Our voter’s registration is overwhelming. You can see the enthusiasm among new voters to get registered even to the extent of waking up early to make sure that they arrive early at the venue,” he said.
He added that they might even overshoot their target of 12,000 registrants this month as there are still nine days remaining before the Sept. 30 deadline.
The Comelec in the city will continue to hold satellite registrations until Sept. 30.
On Sept. 21-22 the satellite registration is at the Festive Walk Mall in Megaworld; on Sept. 23 they will be at the City Mall in Parola; Sept. 24-25 at Robinsons Place-Jaro; and they will return to Robinsons Place in City Proper on Sept. 27-30.
The Elections Registration Board (ERB) is expected to convene on the third Monday of October to deliberate on the application of registrants.
Meantime, he said they will just wait for the decision of the En Banc regarding the appeal of the city government for an extension in registration.
“We will just wait because it is the En Banc that will decide. If they allow it, not only Iloilo City will be extended but the whole Philippines. Whatever is the decision, we will follow,” he said. (PNA)