The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has announced the commencement of the voter registration period for the upcoming 2025 national and local elections (NLE). This critical phase begins on February 12 and extends until September 30, 2024, offering a broad window for eligible Filipinos to participate in the democratic process, as reported by GMA News Online.
Registration Schedule and Locations
Prospective voters can register at their local office of the election officer (OEO) or at designated satellite registration sites. Registration is open from Mondays to Saturdays, including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, it’s important to note a brief suspension from March 28 to March 30, 2024, in observance of Holy Week.
To register, individuals must complete an application form available at the OEO and on the Comelec website. A crucial change this year, as emphasized by Comelec Chairperson George Garcia, is the disallowance of company IDs. The Commission will only accept government-issued identification cards bearing the registrant’s signature.
Here’s a list of acceptable IDs:
- National Identification (ID) card under the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys)
- Postal, PWD, Student’s, or Senior Citizen’s ID card
- LTO Driver’s License/Student Permit
- NBI Clearance, Philippine Passport
- SSS/GSIS or other Unified Multi-Purpose ID card
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) ID card
- Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) License
- Certificate of Confirmation from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for ICCs or IPs members
- Barangay Identification/ Certification with photo
- Any other valid government-issued ID
Special Provisions for Vulnerable Groups
Individuals such as persons with disability (PWDs), senior citizens, members of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) or Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs), and Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) can update their records using the supplementary data form.
Ensuring Integrity in the Registration Process
Garcia’s decision to exclude company IDs from the registration process is rooted in past abuses and the ease of mass-producing such IDs. This move is aimed at bolstering the integrity of the electoral process.
As the nation gears up for the 2025 NLE, the Comelec encourages all eligible Filipinos to register and exercise their right to vote. This election is an opportunity for citizens to shape the country’s future and have a say in its governance.
The voter registration period is not just a procedural step; it’s a foundational aspect of democratic engagement. The Comelec’s streamlined process, inclusive of all eligible citizens, ensures that every voice has the potential to be heard in the upcoming elections.
Online Registration for Specific Cases
Comelec has expanded its services to include online applications, available until September 7, 2024. This digital option caters to several specific needs:
- Reactivation of voter status;
- Reactivation with transfer of registration within the same city/municipality/district, with or without correction of entries; and
- Reactivation and updating of records for senior citizens (SCs) and persons with disability (PWDs).
Targeting New Voters
An ambitious goal has been set by the poll body to enlist at least three million new voters for the 2025 elections. This target is a testament to Comelec’s commitment to expanding democratic participation across the nation.
Special Focus on Overseas Filipino Voters
In a significant move, Comelec has extended the voter registration for Filipinos living abroad until September 30, 2024.
Comelec Chairperson George Garcia stressed the importance of overseas Filipinos in the electoral process, highlighting the implementation of Internet voting as a new feature.
“We remind OFWs that registration for overseas voters is ongoing. Their registration will be valid until December 2029. I hope they will register because Internet voting will be implemented,” Garcia stated.
This innovation in voting technology aims to bolster participation from the Filipino diaspora.
Previous Voter Registration Insights
Reflecting on the last voter registration period, Comelec received over 2.5 million applications from December 2022 to January 2023, indicating a robust interest in civic participation among the populace.
Strengthening Democracy Through Participation
The introduction of online registration and the emphasis on overseas voter inclusion are strategic steps by Comelec to strengthen the country’s democratic foundations. These initiatives reflect a recognition of the evolving needs of the electorate and the importance of inclusivity in the electoral process.
A Call to Engage and Empower
As the Philippines marches towards the 2025 elections, the collective efforts of Comelec, communities, and individuals play a pivotal role in shaping a participative and representative democracy. The expanded voter registration process is more than a bureaucratic necessity; it’s a doorway to empowerment, giving every eligible Filipino a voice in shaping the nation’s future.
Catch the video report on this scoop here, as shared by the PTV Philippines’ Youtube page