Over 600 join pilot run of poll body’s Register Anywhere Program in CV

CEBU. Students and school personnel from Cebu Doctor's University had the chance to register for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Register Anywhere Program (Rap) on Wednesday, February 28, 2024.
CEBU. Students and school personnel from Cebu Doctor's University had the chance to register for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Register Anywhere Program (Rap) on Wednesday, February 28, 2024.Photo by Honey Cotejo

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) attracted 691 voter registrants in its pilot implementation of the Register Anywhere Program (RAP) in Central Visayas on Feb. 27-28, 2024.

Comelec started at the University of San Carlos (USC) Talamban Campus in Cebu City on Feb. 27, registering 210 individuals, including students, faculty and staff. The following day, Feb. 28, Comelec served 481 registrants at the Cebu Doctors’ University (CDU) in Mandaue City.

The Comelec Central Office also held separate voter education seminars for USC and CDU, covering topics such as voter rights, responsibilities and candidate information.

RAP at USC

Comelec Cebu spokesperson Omar Sharif Mamalinta said that through RAP, individuals are no longer confined to their local Comelec offices for registration.

He said designated sites across the country will host Comelec facilities serving as convenient hubs for voter registration.

He said participants can register regardless of their current residence.

Aside from accommodating first-time voters, other RAP services cover individuals who are relocating, returning from overseas, needing to correct information, and reactivating deactivated registration at any RAP site.

For first-year computer science student Shawn Clifford Veloso, 20, the event proved to be convenient for students to register.

Hailing from Tacloban City in Leyte, Veloso said the event made the registration “easier and more accessible” for would-be first-time voters like himself. He was joined by three of his classmates in the registration.

Adrian Auman, 18, a first-year industrial engineering student, echoed Veloso’s sentiments.

He said registering was easy for them because the event took place inside the campus, particularly at the School of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design building.

Voter’s education

Meanwhile, the voter’s education seminar held at the university’s Michael Richartz Center was led by Emmalyn Masongsong of the Comelec Central Office’s Education Information Department.

Among the topics discussed were rules on electoral campaign.

Mamalinta said: “If they will have sufficient or enough knowledge on voter’s education, they will be able to vote wisely... We want to educate them on who to vote or who not to vote.”

Mamalinta added that other institutions may request their office to conduct satellite registration, including RAP, in different areas, such as malls, universities and barangays.

However, he specified that there must be at least 200 registrants.

RAP at CDU

The registrants from CDU included 110 applicants from Lapu-Lapu City, 111 from Cebu City First District, 141 from Cebu City Second District and 119 from Mandaue City.

Mamalinta said the pilot tests were carried out in an orderly manner at the USC and CDU, as the Comelec personnel did not face any technical difficulties during the program’s implementation.

A voter’s education seminar was also held at CDU. It was attended by 1,300 National Service Training Program students of the university.

Other RAP schedules

Mamalinta said neighboring provinces in Central Visayas will have their respective RAP pilot tests throughout the year.

Negros Oriental will have its RAP pilot test in April, Siquijor in May, Cebu Province in June and Bohol in July.

The nationwide implementation of RAP aims to provide more options and opportunities for voter registration in areas with higher concentrations of foot traffic and gatherings of individuals eligible to vote. / KJF, HIC

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