Makati residents flock voter registration held in mall
Posted October 31, 2009on:
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 16:21:00 10/30/2009
Filed Under: News, Politics
MANILA, Philippines—Hundreds of Makati City residents continue to flock a satellite voters’ registration held at a mall two days before the enlistment deadline, a poll official said.
National Capital Region (NCR) election director Mike Dioneda said despite the satellite registrations held in previous months and the extension of registration on Saturdays and holidays since June, applicants continue to swarm Comelec offices in Metro Manila, signifying a signal of high interest among Filipinos to join the 2010 elections.
Makati City government consultant and legal assistant Constancia Lichauco then requested Comelec to hold registration in an area accessible to multiple barangays at one time and after being granted free use of rooms at the Ayala Lands’ Glorietta and Rockwell malls, the satellite registrations for Makati voters were held on Fridays and Saturdays of October.
“In the future, maybe Comelec can consider the idea of holding registration in publicly-accessible areas such as the malls to maximize the deployment of registration resources,” said Lichauco.
In anticipation of the surge of “last-minute” applicants, the poll body deployed 62 additional data capturing (DCM) machines in Manila, of which four to five units are in two of Makati’s district election offices, said Dioneda.
But even with the additional DCM units, election offices are overwhelmed by the number of applicants that range between 500 to 600 daily during the last week of the month, up from the average of 250 voter applications processed in previous months, said Dioneda.
Dioneda appealed to voters to come early at registration centers with their IDs and other required papers and to devote at least a day for the registration, in anticipation of the long queues in the different application stages.
In place of school or government IDs, voter applicants can also bring billing statements with their name and address or they can be identified under oath by a family member who is a registered voter, said Dioneda.
Makati assistant election officer Joy Sabado urged voters not to buy xerox copies of registration forms in photocopying centers just to speed up their application because their status of application must be verified first by Comelec officers, before they are issued a free form.
“We have color-coded [voter] registration forms which are marked only by Comelec officials. We have received reports that some photocopying centers sell registration form to applicants. Voters should understand that having an application form before they pass verification of status, the first step of registration, will not ensure them speedy processing,” said Sabado in a separate interview.
Sabado added applicants run the risk of being double registrants if they get the wrong application form, for example, a delisted voter, who should apply for reactivation of registration record, gets a form for new application for first time voters, he will be held liable for the election offense multiple registration.
In separate interviews, Michelle Lleses and Kamilla Devila, residents of Mayapis and San Antonio in Makati, respectively, lauded the conduct of satellite registration at the mall despite the long queues.
“I was only able to register today because of my workload and this is the first time I have registered in a mall. The long lines prove the interest of Filipinos to make their vote counted in the 2010 elections,” said Lleses.
“Since yesterday afternoon I have been processing my application and just this morning I was able to finish my new voter application. I didn’t mind to use up my two days to register because I want to vote in the first automated elections. Holding registration in an air-conditioned area help lessened the burden of applicants because we don’t have to battle heat,” said Devila.
Registration ends on the midnight of October 31.