With the September 30 deadline for voter registration drawing near, Senator Sonny Angara urged all Filipinos of voting age to register now and not wait for the last-minute rush.
Angara said the report of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) regarding the registration of 4.3 million new voters already is “a very encouraging development.”
Senator Imee Marcos, chairperson of the Senate electoral reforms, said there may still be house-to-house campaigning but no big rallies, with smaller “pulong-pulong” in their stead. She said this is based on each LGU’s quarantine status.
She said overall, personal appearances will be highly restricted and digital, while broadcast, outdoor and other media will assume an inordinate importance in the election.
Anticipating that media will inevitably raise costs for the candidates, Marcos said she sponsored a bill on higher campaign expense limit before the end of the last session.
“If three pesos per voter was a ludicrous basis for calculating the maximum spend of a candidate before, it will be outright lying in 2022 with all the online and broadcast media required during the pandemic,” she added.
The Comelec has 60 million Filipinos registered to vote for the 2022 elections and is looking at adding another one million to the total by the end of the registration period.
“It bodes well for our democracy that our people are getting more involved in the electoral process by registering to vote in spite of the restrictions on mobility because of the pandemic,” Angara said.
The chairman of the Senate committee on youth urged young Filipinos to register and vote “because you’re the ones who will be most impacted by this election.”
In order to encourage even more people to register, Angara said that there should be an intensified public information campaign, particularly by television networks and radio stations, starting with the state-run PTV-4.
The Senator also suggested incorporating the campaign to register with the ongoing vaccination program of the government.
Angara said the Comelec, with the help of the local government units, could place some posters or streamers at the vaccination sites reminding and encouraging people to visit their local Comelec offices and register for the 2022 polls.
“If Comelec and its partners could encourage even more Filipinos to register, then we could even hit the 62 million mark for the 2022 national elections,” Angara added.
Meanwhile, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said there are now at least 60 million already registered for the 2022 polls.
Jimenez said the poll body has set a target of 61 to 62 million registered voters, with the lower limit already within reach.