VOTING 193-0 with zero abstentions, the House of Representatives on Monday, September 27, 2021, approved on third and final reading a bill extending the voter registration period for the May 2022 elections.
Under House Bill 10261, the voter registration period would be extended until the end of October 2021, a month after it is scheduled to end on September 30.
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, who filed the bill together with Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would be compelled to extend the voter registration period once the bill is enacted into law.
“We hope the Comelec will use the one-month extension to ramp up voter registration and ensure that more people can vote next year because we cannot afford to disenfranchise voters,” Velasco said in a statement following the approval of the measure.
“The right to vote in an election is one essential part of the democratic process, and Comelec is duty-bound to make sure that all eligible voters are able to register and exercise their right of suffrage,” Velasco said.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that 73 million voters are qualified to participate in the May 2022 elections. As of August 23, Comelec reported that around 61 million voters have registered.
Velasco said there's a discrepancy of 12 million voters.
He noted that voter registration was suspended for six months in 2020 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. It was again suspended for several weeks in 2021 as several areas were again placed under stricter quarantine restrictions. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)