MANILA - Now that Congress is bent on pushing for a constituent assembly (Con-ass), there is no doubt that the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections is a go in October 2016, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista said on Friday.
The poll chief spoke to the media as he inspected the registration of voters in Comelec offices in Pasay City, a day before the deadline.
Bautista said the poll body will not extend the registration period.
"Wala nang extension, kasi nga kailangan na nating i-finalize yung project of precincts no. Kahapon din ako'y nakipagusap kay Speaker [Pantaleon] Alvarez at tinanong ko kung merong posibilidad na ipagsasama yung barangay, SK at yung con-con, pero sabi nga niya sa akin, ngayon ang direction ay magkaroon ng constituent assembly, kung kaya't mukhang tuloy na tuloy na tayo para sa ating halalan sa October 31," Bautista said.
On Friday, a big number of registrants flocked to the Comelec offices in Pasay as early as 7 a.m. to beat the deadline. Most of them were students who intentionally missed or got late for school to sign up for the SK elections.
"Ako, talagang parang kultura natin yan eh or baka tradisyon na rin natin yan eh, parang nagpapaputok pag bagong taon," the poll chief said, noting that they had expected a low turnout in the middle of the registration period which eventually peaks right before the deadline.
He, however, said that the situation now is better managed compared to October last year.
"Mas maayos ngayon dahil pinaghandaan ng ating field officials at kumbaga ginamit nila yung kanilang karanasan nung mga nakaraang halalan para mapasaayos at mapasabuti yung proseso.
"Pangalawa, kakaroon pa lang natin ng halalan nung Mayo, so hindi rin, maraming nakapagrehistro noon na di na dapat magparehistro ngayon, tapos pangatlo nga, pinagbawal natin yung transfer, so kasi napansin natin sa mga nakaraang halalan, pagka barangay elections, pinapalipat yung mga kamag-anak dun sa barangay, at yun ang nagpapalaki at nagpapagulo nung proseso. So para sa halalang ito, pinagbawal yan ng Comelec en banc," he said.
Comelec data show that as of Friday, over 2 million voters registered for the barangay and SK elections during the two-week registration period.
The number of voters will be added to the 54.3 million voters who registered for the 2016 national elections last May.