Over 70,000 voters from Puerto Princesa City and Palawan are set to be purged from the voters’ list for failure to participate in the two succeeding regular elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said Wednesday.
Provincial COMELEC spokesperson Jomel Ordas said they should immediately visit their city and municipal offices to check if their names have been included in their list of registered voters for disenfranchisement.
He said that the COMELEC already started an Election Registration Board (ERB) hearing in the city and every municipality on August 13 “to deactivate” voters who missed two succeeding elections, convicted offenders with at least one year imprisonment, and declared with psychological problem by a court order.
“Makipag-ugnayan na sila sa pinaka malapit na opisina ng COMELEC para malaman kung anong status ng registration nila. Kailangan malaman nila kung active ba sila na makakaboto at kung anong puwedeng gawin para hindi ma-deactivate,” he said.
Ordas said that aside from the figure, an estimated 5,000 registration records will also be deactivated “by reason of transfer to other areas, death, or double registration”.
Of the figure, he said 41,000 voters who might be disenfranchised are from Puerto Princesa City alone.
“Malaki masyado ang Puerto Princesa City kaya ganoon. ‘Yong 70,000 estimate pa lang ‘yan kasi hindi pa kumpleto ‘yong report from municipalities. Baka tumaas pa nga,” he said.
He said the number was determined by the COMELEC’s automated fingerpring identification system (AFIS).
AFIS is a biometric identification methodology they use to obtain, store, and analyze the fingerprint data of voters.
“Matagal tayong hindi nagbura kaya kapag failed to vote twice at malamang ang iba dyan either namatay na, nagpalipat na sa ibang munisipyo o doble ang rehistro kaya hindi nakakaboto. ‘Yong double registration at iba pa ay pwede na makasama dyan sa ide-deactivate dahil hindi na nila nabobotohan ang isang rehistro nila. Puwede rin nakasama sa dobleng rehistro na mabura dahil nakita sila sa AFIS ng COMELEC,” he added.
All deactivated individuals are advised not to register as new voters, instead, they may apply for reactivation.
Likewise, voters who transferred to a new residence may apply for “change or correction of entry” to update their registration records.
The application for reactivation can also be done during the voter registration which already started on August 1 and will end on September 30, 2019. Applicants are advised to bring valid identification cards.
The policy on disenfranchisement is stipulated under Republic Act 8189 or the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996.
Meanwhile, as of August 10, the number of new registered voters has reached 2,398. Of this figure, 95 are between the ages of 15-17 and 2,303 regular voters 18 and above.