Written by: Amadine
Edited by: Jaeho
Visual by: Summer
A Comelec office floods with potential Filipino voters waiting in line to register to vote for the 2022 elections
The Philippines — in its democracy, deep history, and rich culture — is a nation ever-evolving. A society dictated and stripped of agency, it’s a nation taking steps to adopt new ideas in accordance with deep-seated systemic issues present today. In making necessary changes, the youth are instrumental in innovating current concepts and sets of rules. This begins with governance and our vote. As we become more educated on crucial topics, like gender inequality and poverty among other issues, demanding change is not a privilege but a necessity: a necessity of our own self-liberty and freedom. In the impending 2022 election, people’s voices should be heard. It’s important to preface that voting is a right, not something solely accessible to a select group of people. In a new update just this week, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte approved an extension to voter registration. This is good news since now, many more Filipinos will be able to register to vote in the upcoming general election in 2022.
Due to Covid restrictions, the limit of just 300 slots per day to register to vote in time for the 2022 presidential election, means that competent Filipino voters had been lingering in long lines for hours at registration sites. Looking at the long process Filipinos endured simply to register, people began to question the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) lack of management. But, more than that, it brought attention to the limits on and lengthiness of registration that could lead to the disenfranchisement of a great number of competent Filipino citizens. The proposed act regarding the October 30th extension posits that “the last day of registration of voters for the 2022 National and Local elections [should] be 30 days after the effectiveness of this act.” However, Aimee Ferolino of Comelec appealed to extend the voting registration deadline by one week from September 23 to September 30, arguing that “if we extend beyond the one week we might put at risk those who were already registered… We are already stretching our limits.” This extension is significantly shorter in contrast to Act No. 11591, “seeking to extend registration to October 30” (Tantuco). Despite Ferolino’s reasoning, it is important to recognize the 8 month suspension there was in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The months of delay for voter registration last year exhibits how the appeal for a one week extension simply does not compensate.
Comelec raised points in considering the situation in line with the pandemic. But, what wasn’t comprehensible was that in light of districts registering only 300 people per day and Comelec’s fixed stance on no extensions past September 30, millions of Filipinos with the right to register were actively being limited. This made the one week appeal a huge worry, as this would deprive many of their right to vote.
It is unquestionable to say this extension was approved partly due to the discussion led by the youth through digital/physical protest. A day after the Comelec announced the deadline change, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed the act on September 30, 2021. In the bill’s adoption by the Senate, there will be many positive implications — many more of the millions of Filipinos overseas and in the country can contribute to changing the system as a whole. In making a positive impact, voting is a chance to make a decision for the future of the country.
The Philippines is still a country in development; and, the 2022 elections act as a manifesto for Filipinos to make a choice. This is why it is essential to make a decision for this country. This extension functions as an invitation for many to make a true decision for the interest of the Philippines and is an opportunity to all who want to cast their vote for the 2022 elections.
For more information to register: CLICK HERE
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