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Poll chief welcomes mandatory biometrics bill

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said he welcomes the Senate bill making biometrics registration for the elections mandatory.   Senate Bill 1030—authored by Senator Lito Lapid and approved on third and final reading on Monday—requires all registered voters whose biometrics have not been captured to appear before election officers for biometric registration.   Biometric registration refers to a person's picture, fingerprints and electronic signature being recorded by a computer during the voters' registration period. The system aims to cleanse the voter’s list of multiple registrants, where illegitimate voters usually come from.   Brillantes said the bill, to be implemented for the 2016 elections, would allow them to require biometrics nationwide.   “Wala na kaming problema because it’s mandatory biometrics. You don’t go over the old listing anymore,” Brillantes said, referring to the old voters’ list before the biometrics system.   Brillantes had earlier said around 8 million – or 15 percent of the voters’ population – have no biometrics records.   Brillantes said biometric registration for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, set up in July this year with 100 percent biometrics, cut down the number of registered voters to over 1.5 million from 1.7 million in 2011.   “Ngayon nga nalilinis namin lahat ng biometrics because of the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System. So hindi na mahirap,” Brillantes said, referring to the system used for recording the biometrics.   He said he was confident they could get the biometrics of 8 million Filipinos in time for the 2016 elections.   Earlier, Brillantes was criticized by Senate Minority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano for the supposed “alarmist” statement regarding the eight million Filipinos who will be robbed of their right to vote if Congress passes the biometrics bill.   Brillantes said his statement was taken out of context. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News