More public and private entities have requested to become Register Anywhere Project (RAP) centers since the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) launched it to provide convenience to individuals who want to register as voters but are temporarily residing in areas outside their home cities and provinces.
However, COMELEC chairperson Atty. George Garcia told Palawan News on Saturday in Brgy. Concepcion, where the local city elections office was conducting a voter registration activity, that it is still under pilot testing.
“Simula nang i-launch natin yong RAP, aba ang daming nagre-request na mga entities, pribado man o publiko, na baka pupuwedeng sa kanila rin daw maging register anywhere,” said Garcia.
“Ang po sabi natin, teka muna, kami ay nag-sample lang para makita natin ang response ng ating mga kababayan at kung kaya ba talaga ng COMELEC, ng aming sistema na talagang ma-accommodate yong RAP,” he added.
He stated that because RAP is a new program, it is taking baby steps and should be evaluated to see if any changes are needed.
RAP was launched in December last year by the COMELEC in malls in Metro Manila, and in Leyte province and the Bicol Region.
Garcia stated that the project’s centers saw strong showing, implying that people found it convenient not to have to travel and return home to register to vote or update their registrations.
“Kapag napatunayan namin, base sa assessment, na kayang kaya ng COMELEC, maayos naman pala, puwedeng puwede nating gawin sa buong Pilipinas na. Sa 17 rehiyon ng ating bansa, gagawin natinang RAP,” Garcia explained.
COMELEC expects the RAP centers to contribute to its target of 2 million registrations from December 12 through January 31; however, only around 400,000 have registered so far, according to him.
He said people should not depend on assumptions that they might extend the voter registration period, as this might not happen.
“Kapag ganoon, ay hindi na po kayo makakapagpa rehistro,” he warned.
Garcia also clarified criticisms about long queues in COMELEC registration centers that make it hard to register as voters or update registrations.
Their announcements and advisories, he explained, are everywhere, not only on social media. These include notices to come early to prevent long lines.
“Lagi sa karanasan ng COMELEC, basta isang linggo bago matapos ang registration, dyan dinudumog—pagka haba haba ng pila, at nauulanan na at naiinitan, ayon nasisisi ang COMELEC nanaman. Pero pasensya na po, hindi siguro kami masisisi sa ngayon dahil napaka aga pa lamang kami ay umiikot, sobra ang announcement at and education and information na ginagawa,” said Garcia.