MANILA, Philippines — Special registration activities are set for Filipino women here and abroad starting today in celebration of National Women’s Month.
In an advisory, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced the special registration on March 8-10 for Filipino women abroad. On March 9-11, similar registration activities are also set for Filipino women and girls nationwide.
“A three-day special voter registration (is set) for women and girls in Offices of the Election Officers nationwide for local registration, and all Philippine posts and embassies abroad and Philippine Satellite Offices in DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), Marina (Maritime Industry Authority), and Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila for registration of overseas voters,” the Comelec’s Gender and Development Office (GAD) stated.
It said the official 2021 National Women’s Month celebration tarpaulin will be displayed in all poll offices nationwide and the five satellite offices for overseas registration in the Philippines.
“Purple Friday” has also been declared in which all Comelec employees must wear purple on all Fridays of March.
Comelec-GAD’s Facebook page will bear a banner to be followed by the recorded video speeches of the three women commissioners — Rowena Guanzon, Socorro Inting and Aimee Ferolino-Ampoloquio.
Comelec will also participate in the online advocacies of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).
Early voting for PWDs, elderly
Meanwhile, the Comelec has been urged to prioritize the estimated 10 million elderly Filipinos and persons with disabilities (PWDs) for its early voting scheme in next year’s elections.
“It is safe to assume that the pandemic will still be here during the election period. Thus, it is important for Congress and the Comelec to take measures to help health authorities prevent the spread of Covid-19 among voters,” Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo said.
The Quezon City congresswoman authored House Bill 8756 that would allow all senior citizens and PWDs – whom she described as the “most vulnerable” sectors – to opt for early voting in future elections beginning with the May 2022 presidential, congressional, local balloting.
“They should be given the chance to cast their ballots without compromising their physical health and safety. Otherwise, thousands might just opt not to vote for fear of contracting the virus,” Castelo said.
She said the state “must do everything to protect the right of suffrage and to make sure that everyone will have the opportunity to exercise such right.”
She called for expeditious action on her proposal, since the Comelec “is now in the thick of preparations for next year’s elections, which are just 14 months away, and the nation will soon be on election mode.”
In another development, Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles said the Comelec can tap barangay authorities in its campaign to entice eligible voters to register for the polls, given the low turnout in voter registration.
“Barangay registration satellites could be a good solution for people who are still averse to going out, especially as public transportation still remains an issue,” Nograles said.
Citing how only 1.17 million out of the targeted four million registrants have turned up, the congressman said there must be barangay-level information dissemination campaigns that target those in the countryside or who have limited access to the internet.
He also proposed that the Comelec study the possibility of entering into strategic partnerships with local governments and the private sector to provide transportation for people who wish to register.
“Maybe we could do some form of bloc registration so that we will be assured of large batches especially from geographically isolated and
disadvantaged areas,” Nograles said. – Delon Porcalla
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