Final appeal to extend voters' registration


Posted at Oct 20 2009 12:26 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2009 08:29 PM

MANILA - With only 12 days left before the deadline of voters’ registration, youth party-list group Kabataan is reiterating calls to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to move the deadline to the original date of December 15.

The poll body should make adjustments for the victims of “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” that wrought massive damage to the country, said Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino.
“The Comelec should at least extend the registration in areas affected by the recent typhoons. Many flood victims will be busy recovering and rehabilitating their homes in the coming weeks, hoping to return to the normal course of their lives,” Palatino said.

Comelec’s move to open the registration on Sundays is not enough, he said. 

“Extending the registration period for 45 days won't hurt," Palatino said. "Besides, I thought the computerization of the polls is supposed to speed up election processes, from preparations to counting of ballots. If the Comelec is not capable of extending the registration period, how can we be assured that there would be no system glitches come election time?" 

Palatino said the youth—18 to 35 years old—comprise nearly 40% of voters in the Philippines. There are also around 5 million first-time voters.

He stressed the significance of the youth vote, adding that it could spell the difference in a close race. In the 2004 presidential elections, for instance, President Arroyo won over her main rival, the late Fernando Poe, Jr., by a little over a million votes.

“Cynics said there is no such thing as a youth vote. Let us prove them wrong and show our generation's political power. History has shown us that the youth can shape the results of the national polls. Sinuportahan ng mga kabataan si Cory noong 1986. Mga kabataan ang bumoto kay Miriam Santiago noong 1992. Naging pangatlo sa halalan si Roco noong 1998 dahil sa mga kabataan,” he said.

“For 364 days, makapangyarihan ang mga pulitiko, pero sa araw ng halalan, makapangyarihan ang mga botante. Let us not waste this opportunity,” he added. -- by Carmela Fonbuena,