Go beyond social media activism on Election Day, netizens urged

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 17) — As political posts dominate social media in the rundown to the 2022 elections, voter advocates are calling on Filipinos to not just post but cast their votes.

"Social media activism is good, but you need to take it a step further by making your voice count on Election Day," former Commission on Elections Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told CNN Philippines' Front and Center.

"Sabi nga nila na pwedeng maging choosy sa 2022. Paano ka magiging choosy? Parehistro ka muna," he added.

[Translation: They said people can be choosy in 2022. How will you be choosy? You have to register first.]

Critics of the Duterte administration's COVID-19 response have taken to social media to call on the public to seek better public service by voting wisely in the upcoming national elections. Veteran political strategist Greg Garcia, however, noted that the support remains high for President Rodrigo Duterte based on nationwide surveys.

"Change is probably not a good card to have right now. But continuity, then whoever's the candidate must define what is your definition of continuity," Garcia said.

"Whatever side of the political fence you belong in, if you register to vote, you'll be part of the democratic process," Larrazabal said.

Meanwhile, social media personality Mark Averilla, better known as Macoy Dubs to his thousands of followers, cited the need for "micro-influencers" to entice the younger generation to register as voters.

"'Yung mga micro they are the ones na mas mabilis makapag-invite compared to the bigger ones so we need more of you," Averilla said.

'Simple, hassle-free registration'

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said the poll body is expecting a voter turnout of more than 70% despite the coronavirus crisis.

While the last day of registration – September 30 – is still months away, Abas appealed to the public to refrain from last-minute registration to avoid crowding in Comelec offices.

READ: Comelec extends voter registration hours

"Iva-validate lang naman 'yung identity nila at meron lang silang forms na ififill-up and then kukunan lang sila ng biometrics. Ganoon lang kasimple 'yun. Walang hassle sa pagpaparehistro," Abas said.

[Translation: Their identities will be validated and they need to fill out some forms, then their biometrics will be taken. It's that simple. There's no hassle in the registration process.]

He added the public can also access the forms online to cut the time they spend in election offices.

A special committee within the poll body is still studying the "best practices" for the conduct of the May 9, 2022 general elections. This includes whether campaigning and the filing of certificates of candidacy from president down to councilors should be done online to prevent virus transmission, Abas said.

READ: Comelec releases calendar for 2022 elections

Comelec will also draw lessons from the plebiscite on the law dividing Palawan into three provinces, which will be held in March, the poll chief added.