Comelec: No plans to extend voter registration for barangay, SK polls; huge turnout breaches target

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 20) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has no plans to extend the voter registration for the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, an official said.

Comelec Commissioner Aimee Ferolino said the poll body announced registration dates early and opened satellite sites in malls to make sure more people could register.

"Right now wala pa (there are no plans yet). That's why we announced the days earlier para sana mas maaga silang pumunta sa ating mga (so the voters can go to our) registration centers. But we will see if there is a need, kung kakayanin pa na mag-extend (if it is feasible to extend). But as of now, we cannot announce an extension," she said at a Comelec event Tuesday.

Ferolino cited her observation after visiting a satellite registration center in a mall in Baguio City, saying that although many people were in line, the registration went smoothly.

They are preparing for a possible influx of last-minute applicants on the last day.

Comelec signed a partnership with two major mall operators in the country Tuesday. Thus, satellite voter registration centers will be set up in 76 SM Supermalls and 30 Robinsons malls nationwide to make the process more accessible and convenient.

Comelec welcomed the huge turnout for new applicants, which it said has breached its original target of one million for Barangay and SK elections.

Comelec Acting Spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said over 1.7 million new voters have registered as of July 18. The majority of the new registrants, all 1,073,847, are aged 15 to 17. New applicants aged 18 to 30 reached 547,389, while those above 31 years old are at 91,079.

"For purposes of planning since the May 9 elections, we are at 65 million plus,... we are expected to be at 66 million. Right now, for the regular voters we have already breached that mark --- the 500,000 registrant mark. So we are on track for the 23 million expected voters for the Sangguniang Kabataan elections," he said.

Laudiangco said they are confident they will be able to surpass their recalibrated target of 2,067,351 new registrants by July 23, the last day of voter registration. He added that the new figure would be used for planning and pre-election preparatory activities.

Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Teopisto Elnas said preparations will continue and are on track despite proposals to postpone the elections anew.

The Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections had been scheduled on Dec. 5.