Comelec targets 1M absentee voters by October

by Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2012 04:41 PM | Updated as of Jul 27 2012 06:40 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is targeting the registration of at least 1 million absentee voters by the end of October for the 2013 elections.

Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, chairman of the Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting, said since May, they have placed additional personnel and registration machines in airports and other points of exit to encourage outbound OFWs to register before leaving the country.

So far, there have been 45,000 new registrants at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) alone.

Tagle said that they would still retain registration centers in the different consular offices abroad, aside from putting up additional field offices to encourage more OFWs to register as absentee voters.

By the end of the month, Comelec personnel will also be distributing flyers for outbound OFW.

Meanwhile, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez expressed fears that the age-old problems of fraud and delays will resurface if they will be forced to go back to manual voting because of impending budget cuts by Congress.

Jimenez said that the Commission originally requested for P24 million, but this was slashed to P8 million.

He said that to assume that the Comelec does not need the money anymore because they have already purchased the PCOS machines is very misguided. He said they still need to finance the salaries of teachers and soldiers, among others.

"You may expect smaller costs down the line, just not this soon," Jimenez said.

The Comelec, he said, remains hopeful legislators would ultimately support a bigger budget in the end.