‘No appearance’ voter registration eyed for passport holders
By Ferdinand Patinio
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon
MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing at adopting a “no personal appearance” for voter registrants with passports.
According to Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, they are planning to let Filipinos abroad and in the country to register online, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“Comelec is studying a project that I proposed: no personal appearance for voter registrants with passports online; if partnership with @DFAPHL is possible,” she said in her Twitter account.
“Verification of identity can be done using biometrics data of @dfarecords,” the poll body official added.
Those who will be covered by the proposal are domestic and overseas voters.
“This online method of registration needs no personal appearance and will encourage Filipinos all over the world and within the country who have passports to register,” she said.
Guanzon added that they are looking to implement it during the voter registration which is currently ongoing in some areas in the country.
“Yes, (possible this voter registration), if DFA will agree to partner with Comelec and share their biometrics database,” she said in a Viber message.
The proposal is supported by the Commission en banc, she added.
“To achieve a high turnout of voter registrants and thereby ensure voters ‘access to elections, especially PWDS, the elderly, pregnant women,” Guanzon said.
She added that they are waiting for the response of the DFA.
“We don’t need a law for this. Means and methods of elections are the sole discretion of Comelec, according to Supreme Court rulings,” the Comelec commissioner said.
Asked if it is timely due to pandemic? Guanzon said: “this is not only timely, it is necessary.”
Early this month, the voter registration resumed nationwide except for areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified ECQ.
The nationwide voter registration period started on January 20, 2020. It will run until September 30, 2021 in preparation for the May 2022 elections. (PNA)