Bill extending voter registration hurdles Congress

by
PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

A PROPOSED law that will extend the voter registration period, currently set to end Sept. 30, was approved unanimously Monday on third and final reading in both chambers of Congress.

The Senate adopted the House of Representatives’ version, which provides that the registration period will be extended by 30 days from effectivity into law.

Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, principal author of the Senate version, said they adopted the House counterpart “to do away with the bicameral conference committee meeting.”

A copy of the measure can now be submitted to Malacanang for the President’s review and approval.

“Hopefully the President will sign this request,” said Mr. Zubiri during the plenary session.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has previously rejected an extension, citing other scheduled election preparations as well as limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, 25 business and professional organizations together with 135 educational institutions and associations on Monday released a joint statement in support of congressional bills extending the voter registration deadline.

The statement cited survey results and information gathered by schools indicating an “overwhelming intent” to register among first-time eligible voters in student bodies all over the country.

“The month-long extension could make a big difference in accommodating people who want to register for the coming elections,” said Mr. Zubiri. “The extension would prevent the disenfranchisement of about 12 million eligible voters.”

Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez said in a news briefing that the management committee met Monday on a possible extension, and the recommendation will be presented on Wednesday for approval by the Comelec en banc. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, Russell Louis C. Ku, and Bianca Angelica D. Anago

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