26% of voters in Cordillera lack biometrics

SOME 254,314 of 953,006 voters in the Cordillera may find themselves delisted in the list of voters if they fail to validate their registration and have their biometric information taken.

This after the Commission on Elections called on the public particularly some 9.6 million Filipinos to undertake voter’s registration validation warning they will no longer be allowed to vote in the May 2016 elections without biometric information.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes, in their summer en banc session in the Summer Capital Wednesday, said they will kick-off voter’s registration in all Comelec offices nationwide on May 6, 2014 until October 31, 2015 giving ample time of one year and five months for voters to validate their registration status.

Comelec assistant regional director Vanessa Roncal said some 26 percent of the region’s voters will have to go back to Comelec offices to have their fingerprint, picture and signature captured in voter’s registration machines.

The seven Comelec commissioners who were in Baguio City for their session, meantime, stressed voters without biometric information, which includes a picture, fingerprint and signature captured, may check their status through the Comelec offices or through the commission’s website.
Brillantes urged voters to validate their status as soon as possible stressing those who wait for the last minute are at risk of waiving their right of suffrage in the May 2016 elections.

The Comelec chairman said the commission believes the 9.6 million Filipinos or some 18 percent of the country’s 53 million voters will not be disenfranchised reporting the commission will send notices to these voters and will exert extra effort by conducting satellite registration in barangays.

Brillantes adds the Commission En Banc decided Comelec will also start with a Sunday to Thursday work schedule starting May 6 to do the satellite registration even on Sundays in malls, churches, and regional field offices.

The resumption of continuing registrations for the synchronized national, local and ARMM polls in 2016 involves validation of records, application for registration, transfer of registration records, change or correction of registration entries, reactivation of voter’s records and reinstatement of names in voter’s lists.

The move for validation of voters and gathering of biometric information is in line with the implementation of Republic Act 10367 which makes Biometrics Voters Registration mandatory.

Aside from voters without biometric information, Comelec is also expecting some 2 to 3 million new registrants starting May until October next year.

To address this expected increase in registrants the commission procured 500 additional voter’s registration machines to augment existing number of machines in Comelec field offices nationwide.

Meantime, Comelec assistant regional director Vanessa Roncal said every city and municipality will have satellite registration and biometrics capturing in barangays, especially in far-flung areas.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez added the commission will launch the voter’s registration with a Luzon Walk from Laoag, Tarlac, Manila, and Sorsogon on May 6 to reach voters in far-flung areas to register and have their biometrics information taken.

For the resumption of continuing registration Voter’s Education Committee chair Commissioner Grace Padaca said they will come up with satellite registration for Indigenous Peoples for a more inclusive elections.

This as the commission aims to gather information from PWDs and Senior Citizens for easier access during elections in time for the implementation of Republic Act 10366 for accessible polling places for vulnerable sectors. A separate polling place for the vulnerable sector will also be provided in the 2016 polls.

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