Voter registration ‘too slow’ – Kiko

11 05 2009

By Efren L. Danao, Senior Reporter

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said Sunday that the re­gistration of first-time voters has been too slow, fearing that as many as 3.5 million young Filipinos could be disenfranchised in the 2010 elections as a result.

He cited a statement of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that only 10 percent of the youths qualified to vote in 2010 have registered. The continuing registration of voters ends on October 31, 2009.

Pangilinan, an independent, noted that in 2007, some 75 percent young Filipinos failed to vote, because they did not know that they were supposed to register.

“If this number remains unchanged, 3.75 million first-time voters in 2010 will be disenfranchised,” he said.

He explained that Filipinos aged 35 years old and younger would comprise 54 percent of the voting population, with 5 million of them being first-time voters. “That’s enough to swing the vote, enough to change the electoral landscape, enough to change the face of Philippine governance.”

Pangilinan said that he, together with youth groups Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Youth Vote Philippines and First-Time Voters Network, would launch the Register-and-Vote Campaign at 10 a.m. today at the Market! Market! terminal parking lot in Taguig City

Better use of ads

Opposition Sen. Francis Escudero urged politicians and Cabinet members also on Sunday to focus their infomercials on the registration of first-time voters for the 2010 elections.

He said the irritation of the people against this “wasteful” spending during an economic crisis could be eased if the infomercials were devoted to more urgent issues like the registration of young voters.

He acknowledged that presidential wannabes were spending their own money for their infomercials. But he contended that the money is better spent if it is directly used to educate and convince young voters to register, for assistance in time of calamities, or for buying medicines.

“Perhaps, if this is already the campaign period, their money is being spent correctly. But at this time of economic crisis, there are more important things that needed funding attention,” Escudero said.

Source: The Manila Times

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