Sonny Lagon

More solons asks Comelec to extend voters’ registration

September 26, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 351 views

MORE lawmakers have appealed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the September 30, 2021 deadline of voters’ registration as the House of Representatives is scheduled to approve this week on third and final reading a proposed law seeking to extend the voters’ registration.

Ako Bisaya party-list Rep. Sonny Lagon underscored the importance of giving opportunity to more Filipinos to cast their votes for 2022 presidential polls following the strict lockdowns imposed in various parts of the country.

“I am appealing to the kind hearts of our Comelec officials to extend the deadline for registration of voters to ensure that more Filipinos can exercise their right to suffrage. The series of lockdowns have affected their intention to register,” Lagon a friend and ally of the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) led by House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez as president, said.

Lagon also urged the youth, first-time and reactivated voters to use the remaining time “to register and effectively reform the country’s political and economic system.”

“Let us make our votes count. This is an effective way to introduce reforms in the country. It is within the hands of Filipino voters to help the living condition of our people,” Lagon, said.

Through viva voce voting, the legislative chamber approved on second reading Friday the amended version of House Bill (HB) No. 10261 fixing the last day of registration for voters in the 2022 national and local elections.

Under the bill filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco—along with Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano—the last day of registration for next year’s polls “shall be 30 days after the effectivity” of the proposed measure.

Velasco said that one important step the Comelec can take to prevent voter disenfranchisement is to extend the voting registration period, which ends on September 30 this year.

The original version of HB 10261 sought to extend the voter
registration deadline until October 31, 2021.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte said their Liberal Party (LP) filed House Resolution (HR) No. 2139 to extend the voters’ registration deadline from September 30 to October 31, 2021 in support of the clamor by different sectors, especially the youth facing disenfranchisement in the 2022 presidential polls.

House Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas said their group, the left-leaning Makabayan bloc also filed a resolution urging the Comelec to extend the registration of voters deadline by at least one month or until October 31 to stave off a
“pandemic of disenfranchisement,” as around 13 million eligible Filipinos have yet to register.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Sara Elago and her group with 158 youth leaders and freedom-loving Filipinos representing various sectors filed a 24-page petition letter to Comelec En Banc to extend voter registration at least until October 31, 2021 to deter massive voter disenfranchisement amid the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Belmonte said the country went under five to six months of lockdowns, forcing Comelec to impose several suspensions of voter registration.

This means that approximately 28.3% of the entire registration period was taken away from the millions of potential voters for 2022, Belmonte said.

Currently, Belmonte said there are around 13.3 million unregistered voters based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) projection
of 73.3 million voters for the 2022 presidential elections and the 60 million registered voters accounted for by the Comelec last June.

The LP lawmakers whom filed the resolution were Belmonte, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar “Egay” Erice, along with Reps. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, Francis Gerald Abaya, Isagani Amatong, Emmanuel Billones, Gabriel Bordado Jr., Edgar Chatto, Paul Daza, Mujiv Hataman, Romulo “Kid” Peña, Stella Luz Quimbo, Josephine Ramirez-Sato, and Alfonso Umali Jr. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman also joined them.