Postponement of the voters’ registration would not solve the problem, said former elections commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal on Wednesday.
“Find a solution instead of putting it off. It should be the LGU (local government unit) which should have anticipated the problem and produced a solution,” Larrazabal said in a radio interview.
Larrazabal made the statement in reaction to the proposal of the Metro Manila Council to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) postponing the registration in fear that it may cause the hike of COVID-19 cases as the registration procedure potentially leads to crowding.
Larrazabal urged the LGUS to put precautionary measures and a system during the registration instead of postponing it.
“When obtaining SAP (government’s social amelioration program), many people are queueing. In the bank, there are also a lot of people but they are lining up properly.
“Does it mean to say that if a lot of people will go to the banks, we will close the banks?” he said.
Larazzabal urged that the LGU should address this problem soon before it worsens, insisting that postponing the registration would only aggravate the situation in the Comelec field offices come 2021.
“The mindset where you think that this problem is going to end is wrong. The right mindset should be “this pandemic would last for a long time’,” he asserted.
“If hundreds of thousands would not be registered this year, they will be added to the applicants next year. A lot more people will come to COMELEC offices next year,” he added.
“Health is important, pero di tayo dapat magtago under a rock and wait until the pandemic is over. We have to adjust. Instead of one problem a month, the problems will only accumulate in the following months,” said Larazzabal.
The Comelec was supposed to start accepting new voter applications from 20 January 2020 to 30 September 2021. The poll body however ordered its suspension in March because of the pandemic.