AROUND 175,000 applications were processed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Central Visayas after the voter registration for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) concluded on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.

In the data provided by Comelec 7 Acting Director Lionel Marco Castillano Wednesday, Feb. 1, Cebu leads the number of applications processed with 111,912.

Bohol came in second with 31,600 applications, followed by Negros Oriental (29,826) and Siquijor (2,642).

Castillano said most of the applications are registration for new voters, transfer of voting address, and reactivation of voting status.

On the last day of registration alone, all offices under Comelec 7 processed a total of 32,177 applications.

Castillano said that the voter registration during the last day was “manageable” but some Comelec offices have to extend their operating hours to accommodate the registrants.

The Comelec offices in Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor were able to close the registration at 5 p.m.

But in the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Cebu, the registration was extended up to 7 p.m. just to accommodate the people who wanted to register, said Castillano.

In Mandaue City, election officials said that the last day of voters’ registration went smoothly.

Sarah Reuyan, Mandaue City election assistant, said a total of 7,241 people registered in Mandaue City for the 2023 BSKE. Of the figure, 1441 were teenagers ages 15 to 17 who will be voting for the first time, 5,980 were individuals ages 18 and above, and 445 were senior citizens.

A total of 230,000 registered voters are set to cast their votes in Mandaue City during this year’s BSKE.

Not fully registered

Castillano said that all those who registered are still considered applications since the Comelec still has to give its approval through its Election Registration Board that will convene on Feb. 20.

There is also no chance for an extension of the voter registration, especially since there is a petition pending before the Supreme Court (SC) to declare the BSKE’s extension unconstitutional.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal has asked the SC in November last year to issue a temporary restraining order or a status quo ante order on the implementation of the law postponing the BSKE that was supposed to take place last Dec. 5, 2022.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 11935 on Oct. 10, 2022, which moved the BSKE to the last Monday of October 2023.

Castillano said that should the SC favor the petition of Macalintal, the Comelec will be forced to hold the BSKE in May 2023.

If that is the scenario, the Comelec is barred from conducting voter registration 20 days before an election, which makes it impossible to have an extension of the recently concluded voter registration, Castillano said. (IRT, HIC)