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USING REGISTRATION DATA Comelec to act on low turnout areas

Posted on: February 24, 2009

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090210-188484/Comelec-to-act-on-low-turnout-areas

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:50:00 02/10/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Government

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Education and Information Department (EID) will be using its latest voters’ registration statistics to identify areas where there is low turnout, identify the causes and propose solutions to the problem, its spokesman said.

“The EID is consolidating registration data from provinces nationwide to gauge the participation of Filipinos during the registration period and identify areas of low turnout that the Comelec needs to attend to,” James Jimenez said.

Of the 266,443 voters who registered, were reactivated or had their entries corrected from December 2 to 19 last year, Jimenez said Ilocos Sur province had the lowest turnout, with only seven, followed by Siquijor with 11, Kalinga with 76 and Dinagat Islands with 82.

Jimenez said the EID will seek the help of local civil society groups to learn the reasons for the low turnout in these “bottom four” areas.

Over the next weeks, Jimenez said the EID will hold video conferences with election officers of the province with the lowest turnouts to discuss the matter and map out solutions.

Asked if the December turnout could be a basis for projecting whether the Comelec’s prediction of between two million to five million new voters this year can be reached, Jimenez said “there is no relationship between the two [registration and new voters] because the report represents the level of participation of Filipinos during the registration period.”

Jimenez said the Comelec will have to wait for the registration turnout in the first quarter of this year before it can make a projection about the country’s voting population by the yearend.

The poll body will be releasing quarterly updates on the registration turnout, he said.

“At present, the Comelec sees the high optimism among Filipinos to register, and that is a good sign,” Jimenez said.

The registration turnout by region was highest in Region IV-A with 55,487 voters, National Capital Region with 53,916, Region VII with 27,522, and Region III with 24,041 voters.

Provinces with the highest turnout were Cavite with 21,900 voters, Cebu with 20,131, Rizal with 12,819, Laguna with 10,337, and Batangas with 10,158.

Jimenez said these were areas with large and relatively politically aware populations.

The turnout in other regions was as follows: Cordillera Administrative Region with 8,682 voters, Region II with 5,338 (from Isabela province only), Region IV-B with 3,951, Region V with 19,322, Region VI with 12,873, Region VIII with 5,058, Region IX with 7,561, Region X with 11,227, Region XI with 10,987, Region XII with 7,818 and Region XIII (CARAGA) with 9,508.

There was no data for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, where registration will start by the middle of this year, Jimenez said.

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