The Commission on Elections said Monday it was considering extending voter registration hours as it falls behind its target to sign up four million new voters for the 2022 vote.
The Comelec has so far registered 1.3 million new voters eight months before the Sept. 30 deadline, which is unlikely to be extended, said its spokesman, James Jimenez.
"Do not waste this opportunity to become part of the process of governance in this country. Because remember, what you vote in election day, you are actually helping define the policies that will govern you for the next 3 or 6 years of your life in this country. So, please register and vote," Jimenez said
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Currently, the Comelec accepts registrations from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday to Thursday. Jimenez said the poll body could accept registrants on Fridays and weekends.
Daily operations could be extended for three hours and more satellite registration sites could be opened, he said.
"This will help reach out to people who probably might not be able to register because of work obligations," he said.
Registration sites also need to post zero COVID cases for 14 days, limiting their operations.
"If we can relax that somewhat maybe without sacrificing the safety of the public, then that would be a big help to us... Doing it in urban centers remains to be an aspiration for us," Jimenez said.
The elections will push through despite the pandemic, Jimenez said.
"As far as Comelec is concerned, the pandemic won't be over in time for May 2022. We're proceeding with election preps as though the pandemic will be in full force," Jimenez said.
Face to face campaigns will likely to be strictly regulated or maybe even prohibited, he said. Increasing the allowable TV ad minutes is also being considered.
More campaigning will shift online, heightening the threat of fake news and misinformation, he said.
"With the pressure of the pandemic on, our regulation will have to evolve... Certainly we will be reaching out to social media platforms to find more proactive means of controlling the spread of false info and perhaps bringing accountability to the table as well for people who propagate false info," said Jimenez.
"In any case, we have assurances that the elections will continue as planned, and that's the most important thing for us," he said.