Today, Filipinos who are at least 18 years of age and who have not yet registered for the 2022 national elections are given the last chance to register and have their votes be counted.
While the law does not require citizens to vote, voting is an essential part of any democracy, where the citizens, not otherwise disqualified, vote for leaders to represent them and their ideas, and the leaders support the citizens’ interests.
The Constitutional provision on the exercise of suffrage is precise. Article V, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution states: “Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year, and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.”
This gives every citizen the right and the opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives, to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors; and to have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.
Given the electoral processes in our country, the nature of democracy is that elected officials are accountable to the people, and they must return to the voters at prescribed intervals to seek their mandate to continue in office.
These thoughts help us encourage, pretty much strongly, qualified Filipino voters who have not, for whatever reason, registered for the May 2022 elections to go out today to the nearest registration areas – these are open from 8 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. – and have their names be included in the list of voters.
The voter registration had been extended from October 11 to 30 after the original September 30 deadline lapsed, not helped any by restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic which forced hundreds of thousands to stay at home to avoid getting infected or infecting others.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas had projected the number of registrants for the month of October from 350,000 to 500,000.
This will bring the number of voters in next year’s polls to 64 million – which would include hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers in the different continents.