The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is looking at the possibility of allowing Filipinos with passports to register as voters with “no personal appearance”.
The state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) said in a report Sunday that COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon has said that they eyeing to let Filipinos abroad and within the country to register online by using their passports in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“Comelec is studying a project that I proposed: no personal appearance for voter registrants with passports online; if a partnership with @DFAPHL is possible,” the PNA quoted Guanzon as saying on her Twitter account.
“Verification of identity can be done using biometrics data of @dfarecords,” the poll body official added.
Those who will be covered by the proposal are domestic and overseas voters.
“This online method of registration needs no personal appearance and will encourage Filipinos all over the world and within the country who have passports to register,” she said.
Guanzon added that they are looking to implement it during the voter registration which is currently ongoing in some areas in the country.
“Yes, (possible this voter registration), if DFA will agree to partner with Comelec and share their biometrics database,” she said in a Viber message.
The proposal is supported by the Commission en banc, she added.
“To achieve a high turnout of voter registrants and thereby ensure voters ‘access to elections, especially PWDS, the elderly, pregnant women,” Guanzon said.
She added that they are waiting for the response of the DFA.
“We don’t need a law for this. Means and methods of elections are the sole discretion of Comelec, according to Supreme Court rulings,” the Comelec commissioner said.
Asked if it is timely due to pandemic? Guanzon said: “This is not only timely, but it is also necessary.”
Early this month, the voter registration resumed nationwide except for areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified ECQ.
The nationwide voter registration period started on January 20, 2020. It will run until September 30, 2021, in preparation for the May 2022 elections. (PNA)