The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ruled out the extension of voters’ registration beyond the January 31 deadline.
Comelec chairman George Garcia, in a statement, said the issue on extending the voters’ registration has not been discussed by the poll body en banc.
However, Garcia renewed his call for qualified voters to register to be able to participate in the October 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE).
“Don’t rely on rumors that the Comelec will extend it. What if we don’t extend the registration? You will decide if you want to support or not the current officials in your barangay, but how can you do that if you are not a registered voter,” the Comelec chief said.
The voters’ registration which was suspended during the holiday break resumed on Tuesday and will end on Jan. 31.
The Comelec said the number of new registrants aged 15 to 17 has reached 60,491.
On the other hand, new registrants in the 18 to 30 years old bracket totaled 101,944, while regular registrants (21 years old and above) numbered 25,694.
The Comelec is targeting around 1.5 million to two million new voters by the end of the registration period.To encourage more applicants to register, the poll body launched such programs as satellite registration, Register Anywhere Project (RAP) in participating malls in Metro Manila and several areas in Bicol and Visayas, and the quad-media presence (social media, television, radio and print).
Apart from the SM and Robinsons malls, the Comelec is also set to commence registration at the Senate and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as well as two universities to encourage more voters to register.
Meanwhile, the poll body is preparing for the special polls in Cavite next month.
According to Comelec executive director Teopisto Elnas, Jr., the special polls in the seventh district of the province will be automated.
“We will be utilizing the list of voters as of August 2022 registration. Special elections in three municipalities: Amadeo, Indang and Tanza and one city, Trece Martires. Total barangays 116; registered voters: 365,184; and voting centers 75 with clustered precincts of 426,” he said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
“We will be using the vote counting machines (VCMs), automated as far as voting and counting are concerned,” he added.
The special polls to be held on Feb. 25 will determine the successor of then Representative Jesus Crispin Remulla.
The congressional seat was declared vacant after Remulla, who won in the May 2022 polls, accepted the nomination of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to be his Secretary of Justice.
Four candidates are running for the vacant position — Jose Angelito Aguinaldo, former Trece Martires City Mayor Melencio Loyola de Sagun, Jr., Crispin Diego Diaz Remulla, and Michael Santos.