The provincial Commission on Elections (COMELEC) says while they are pleased that more people are registering to vote, the lengthy queues might have been averted if people had registered earlier.
This arose after a long line of city residents formed at Robinsons Place Palawan, where the local COMELEC also conducts its registrations, as early as midnight on Monday. According to several of those who stood in line, they were attempting to make the cut-off time.
While the situation is not bad, COMELEC provincial spokesman Jomel Ordas believes that longer waits might have been avoided if more people had registered early, rather than waiting until the September 30 deadline.
“Hinahangaan natin ang ating mga kababayan sa pagtitiis para makarehistro at makaboto sa darating na eleksyon, dahil mahalaga ang boto ng bawat Filipino. Pero maiiwasan sana ang ganitong mga pila, kung sa simula pa lang ng registration period natin at nagparehistro na sila, dahil maraming araw ang kakaunti o walang aplikante,” Ordas said in a message.
Many of the ones who fell in line on September 27 were from rural barangays in Puerto Princesa who were trying to beat the cut-off for registration. City COMELEC officer Atty. Julius Cuevas stated previously in a press conference that they were already done with satellite registrations in rural barangays, which were only limited to two days in a week due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Ordas added that they will be bracing themselves again for another similar scenario, now that the registration deadline draws nearer.
“Inaasahan na ng COMELEC ang pagdagsa ng magpaparehistro sa mga huling araw ng registration, pero ang ganitong sitwasyon, katulad ng sa Robinson’s [Mall] na sa gabi pa lang ay marami nang nakapila, hindi natin masyado in-expect,” he added.