First Time Voters Network Welcomes the Extension of Registration hours in COMELEC but…

22 10 2009

Official Press Release

October 22, 2009

The youth group filed its petition last 15 October 2009 in the COMELEC National Office to ask for an extension of the voters registration for one month in areas severely affected by Ondoy and Pepeng [Regions I to III (Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), National Capital Region (NCR) and Rizal province] and for one week in the other remaining regions nationwide.

“We appreciate COMELEC’s move to give more time for the voters’ registration. We just hope that people will come out in numbers to register and we hope that the Commission can handle them,” says FTV spokesperson Helen Joy Paulino.

COMELEC late last year announced that one Data Capturing Machine (DCM) could handle at best, 100 applicants a day. This, they later, clarified was only a way to standardize the results of voters’ registration every day, machine operators  could accept more applicants if they wish to.

DCM’s are used to digitally capture the biometric data of applicants, a requirement in the poll automation next year. There’s at least one DCM per local Election Office.

“COMELEC had intended and promised to give out more data capturing machines several months back to speed up the registration process but for whatever reason the new machines never came and we are just wary over COMELEC’s capacity to facilitate the influx of people in the coming days,” adds Gio Tingson, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines National Spokesperson and Ateneo Sanggunian Chairperson.

The network said that they received some feedbacks from their volunteers on the ground regarding the registration process at present and that the reports were not exactly surprising but were starting to become alarming.

“For instance, our members from Marikina had mentioned that the lines for registration in their COMELEC office were out of order already, there were lots people registering, and obviously the COMELEC staff were outnumbered. We really hope that Typhoon Ramil will not aggravate this predicament which is true not only for Marikina but for other areas as well” says FTV NCR Coordinator, Leandro Perez.

The network had gone out last Friday, 16 October 2009, to give out flyers on voters’ registration to students in Manila, Quezon City and Mandaluyong.

“We are asking students to register this sembreak, it’s very crucial that they recognize the urgency and importance of this matter. Obviously, a lot of young people were inspired to help out in the recent tragedies and we hope that this will translate into a deeper desire to effect change in our overall system of governance and politics,” states Tingson.

The group is continuously encouraging young people to register in the local COMELEC offices until October 31, 2009, the voters’ registration deadline. With several activities lined up in the next 2 weeks, FTV Network hopes to get the most number of young people registered for the May 2010 elections.

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