The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) member schools’ student councils have launched a signature campaign on Facebook to extend voters registration deadline for the 2022 national and local elections.
In a joint statement, they urged the Commission on Election (COMELEC) to extend the voter registration deadline until Dec. 31, 2021, and proposed suggestions they see “as beneficial to all sectors of the society.”
The eight student councils are the UST Central Student Council, AdMU Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral, AdU University Student Government, DLSU University Student Government, FEU Central Student Organization, NU Student Government, UE University Student Council, and UP-Diliman University Student Council.
The statement read, “We, the Filipino youth, come forward with these propositions and demand for the extension of voter’s registration until Dec. 31, 2021, to regain the time and opportunity we lost for it due to multiple and different levels of community quarantine restrictions. We believe that extending the voter registration period is the most judicial and wisest decision to do in addressing both the COVID-19 pandemic and the concern of massive voter disenfranchisement.”
In the petition letter, they suggested establishing more satellite booths in the country. “This includes the institution of a barangay-level voter registration system, utilizing barangay open or wide facilities such as, but not limited to, covered courts, gymnasiums, and parks, that can immediately cater to the residents of the specific areas.
“The establishment of this system will ease the threat of acquiring COVID-19 by drastically limiting the time of individuals outside of his/her residence. We see this fit to the current health and safety protocols as it will significantly decrease the concentration of expected registrants in a particular barangay/satellite booth, lowering the risks of a superspreader event.”
They also suggested vaccinating COMELEC poll and registration workers “as they continue to serve the public, as well as the provision of further support for infrastructure such as, but not limited to, fingerprint scanners and cameras.”
The student councils also urged students to participate in their signature campaign and sign the petition at https://www.change.org/votersregpetition.
As per PhilStar.com’s report on Aug. 19, senators—including Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Francis Pangilinan, Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Joel Villanueva—have urged the COMELEC to extend voter registration until Oct. 31.
However, the COMELEC decided against it due to “the pre-election work that has to be done, including the assigning of voters’ names to precincts by December and the printing of official ballots by January 2022.” Instead, they extended the voting registration hours and set up satellite booths in different malls.
On Sept. 14, Sen. Francis Pangilinan filed Resolution 851 urging the COMELEC to extend the deadline from Sept. 30 to Oct. 31. COMELEC Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said that the Commission “decided with finality not to entertain any call for another extension of the voter registration beyond Sept. 30.”
Casquejo also said during the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System on Sept. 14, "We'll try to open this again para makita namin ng en banc kung pupwede."
As of Aug. 23, there are over 61.06 million registered voters, as per COMELEC director James Jimenez’s tweet.
To register, visit COMELEC's Facebook page for more information about satellite registration schedules.
Banner photo from UAAP universities’ Facebook page.