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17 months for voters to register for 2016 polls

Manila, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday asked voters to take advantage of the 17-month voter registration period to be able to vote in the May’ 2016 polls.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes issued the call particularly to new registrants and the 9.6 million registered voters who have been found to be without biometrics data.

Biometrics data refer to the automated identification of an individual particularly his/her photograph, fingerprint, and signature.

COMELEC’S ‘WALKAH-WALKAH’ DRIVE -- Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. (right) and Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez (left) launch on May 2, 2014, the ‘Walkah-Walkah: Step Juan sa Mulat na Botante,’ a Luzon-wide walking expedition from Laoag, Ilocos Norte, to Matnog, Sorsogon, to drumbeat the poll body’s call for all qualified citizens to register and submit to biometric registration. The information drive will kick off on May 6. Also in photo is Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting Chairperson Henrietta de Villa. (Ali Vicoy)

COMELEC’S ‘WALKAH-WALKAH’ DRIVE — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. (right) and Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez (left) launch on May 2, 2014, the ‘Walkah-Walkah: Step Juan sa Mulat na Botante,’ a Luzon-wide walking expedition from Laoag, Ilocos Norte, to Matnog, Sorsogon, to drumbeat the poll body’s call for all qualified citizens to register and submit to biometric registration. The information drive will kick off on May 6. Also in photo is Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting Chairperson Henrietta de Villa. (Ali Vicoy)

According to Republic Act 10367,  the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013, voters, who fail to submit for validation prior to the May’ 2016 elections, shall be deactivated from the voters’ list and shall not be allowed to vote.

“Hindi na sila talaga makakaboto so they have to take advantage of the 17-month period within which to register, either validate with biometrics, new registrants, new transfer or reactivate your registration,” said Brillantes.

“Seventeen months ho yun — napakahaba. Sana naman ma-tap natin lahat na magpa-register to ensure we will have a big majority of voters…to ensure there will be less disenfranchised voters in the 2016 elections,” he added.

Republic Act No. 8189 or the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996 states that failure to vote in two successive preceding elections is a ground for the deactivation of registration.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez, for his part, said that a voter can still be disenfranchised even if he or she was able to vote in the last two elections.

“Yang 9.6 million na kasi na yan marami diyan regular na bumoboto. In fact, yung iba dyan bumoto as late as Barangay election 2013. Pero kapag hindi sila nakapag biometrics bigla-bigla sila hindi makakaboto sa 2016,” he said.

Brillantes, meantime, reiterated his call to voters not to wait anymore for the last minute before they register or reactivate their registration.

“Huwag na ho natin ulitin yung ating bisyo na we come in late in September or October, 2015 kasi ho kapag pupunta kayo sa last day lalabas na naman ako sa pinto at sasarhan ko kayo ng pinto pagdating ng alas singko,” he said.

The Comelec is set to resume the voters’ registration system on May 6, 2014 until Oct. 31, 2015.