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Comelec says online registration for new voters not likely next year

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said the online registration for new voters for the May 2025 elections is not likely to be implemented next year.

“If we are going to resume by February next year in preparation for the 2025 election, we would like to be candid that automated and online system of registration may not be possible,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia said.

During a Senate committee hearing, Garcia cited Republic Act 8189 which states that individuals seeking to register must still appear personally before registration sites.

“Voters will really still have to appear personally in our registration site in view of the biometrics that will be taken from these voters, the fingerprint, the pictures, as well as the signatures,” he said.

“Likewise, the voters— when they submit their application for registration, these applications should all be under oath,” he added.

Garcia said that if the applicants do not personally appear, there will be a question on whether the biometrics provided really came from the applicants.

“It’s quite easy to get the images… and then your images can be sent to the Commission. However, when it comes to biometrics, it may happen that the voter who wanted to register online is not the same voter,” he said.

Despite this, the Comelec chairman said the poll body is open to entering a data-sharing agreement with PhilSys to pave the way for the transfer of biometrics to Comelec.

Garcia, however, said all applicants for registration must still take their oaths personally.

“However, your honor, unfortunately, with all due respect, they will still have to appear before the Comelec because all applications for registration must be under oath,” he said.

“And so even if the PSA will share with us the biometrics of these voters and for those who got the PhilSys ID, they would still have to go to Comelec because their application will be useless without being administered the oath,” he added.

Garcia also said the Comelec will look into the possibility of allowing applicants to take their oath through online means.

“That’s possible, but we will study further the possibility,” he said.—AOL, GMA Integrated News