Millions of Filipinos have yet to register for the May 9, 2022 general elections, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said.
Featured on The Mangahas Interviews, the election official said that out of the four million new voters or those who will be 18 years old on election day, around 3.5 million have registered.
However, only around 300,000 have registered out of the close to seven million individuals who were deactivated after failing to vote in the past two elections.
“Sa ngayon according to our data, 57 million ang nasa data natin pero may karagdagang 3.5 million na mga new voters ngayon pero kulang na kulang po ngayon kasi sana seven million or six million ang magrehistro,” Guanzon said.
“Habulin natin ‘yan dahil 3.5 million pa lang ang nagrehistro na new voters. Sa data ng National Statistics, ang mag-18 years old sa May 9 ay four million. Pero may seven million na hindi bumoto sa dalawang consecutive elections kaya nabura sila,” she explained.
Guanzon continued: “All in all, ang dapat mag-rehistro ay 11 million. Sa seven million, 300,000 lang ang nagrehistro uli, so napakalaking kawalan ‘yun sa ating bansa. Iyong 6.7 million na na-delete ay sana bumalik kayo uli.”
The poll official said the low registration turnout may be attributed to the public’s fear of COVID-19.
“Takot ho sila sa COVID, kaya sana bilis-bilisan naman sa pagbakuna kasi everybody who is going of their house is taking a risk,” she said.
Guanzon also urged mayors to prioritize election officers in getting COVID-19 vaccine so they can conduct registration of new voters in barangays.
"Sana 'yong mga mayors unahin naman kami tutal A4 naman classification namin eh, 'yong mga election officers namin, para makapag-barangay registration na po kami," Guanzon said.
Section 27 of the RA 8189 or the Voter's Registration Act of 1996, which provides for the grounds for deactivation of voters' registration, says that the Election Registration Board "shall deactivate the registration and remove the registration records" of any person "who did not vote in the two (2) successive preceding regular elections as shown by their voting records."
In May 2018, the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections were held.
The midterm polls, on the other hand, were held in May 2019.
Guanzon said preparations are “in full swing” for the upcoming national elections.
“Ang mga bidding, kontrata sa printing, schedule ng Comelec ay on time,” she said.—LDF, GMA News