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Take advantage of the plan to reopen voter's registration, poll watchdogs urge

MANILA, September 18, 2016 -- Election watchdog groups have urged the public to take advantage of the plan of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reopen the voter's registration starting next month.

National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) Secretary General Eric Alvia noted that voters who failed to register in the July 15-30, 2016 registration period will have the chance to register.

“For those qualified but not yet registered, now is the chance to register if the Comelec opens it. For those registered, please validate if you are in the list,” he said.

The poll body has said that they are looking to reopen the voter's registration next month until April 2017.

The plan to resume voter's registration floated after the two Houses of Congress approved on final reading the bill postponing the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls to October 2017.

Democracy Watch Philippines Secretary General Claudette Guevara said it is important for the people to register for them to be able to participate in next year's polls.

“Take advantage of the resumption of the voter's registration so they’ll be able to exercise their rights to vote,” she added.

According to Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista, they are expecting to enlist some five million additional voters for the village and youth polls when they resume the voter' registration period.

The Namfrel official said the Commission must ensure that potential multiple registrants and flying voters will be deleted.

“This is good to increase voters’ participation but Comelec must improve the weeding out process of unqualified registrants and uphold the integrity of the list,” he added.

The Democracy Watch Philippines official is hoping that the poll body will be able to act against the “hakot” practice of some candidates during the registration period.

“It’s fine to reopen the voter's registration as long as it won’t affect the democratic participation process as some may be used to favor some running barangay officials,” he added. (PNA)


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