The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Saturday said it saw a low turnout of voter registrants last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said that nearly 900,000 voters registered up to December last year.
"Bago mag-December 29, siguro mga December 11, ang huling tala natin ay kulang-kulang 900,000 pa lang ang nagpaparehistro. Mababa 'yan," said Jimenez in an interview on Teleradyo.
"In pre-COVID times, 'yang 900,000 siguro mga dalawang cities lang 'yan sa NCR."
Jimenez said it was understandable, since people's mobility was restricted.
"Naiintidihan naman natin na may pandemya, lalo ngayon may bagong version ng virus . . . Takot talaga ang mga taong lumabas," he said.
Jimenez said the commission expected to register about close to 5 million voters, including new voters and voters who want to reactivate their registration.
A bulk of the registrants will be those who reached the voting age of 18 years old and the senior citizens.
"Unfortunately, 'yun yung dalawang grupo na hindi pinapayagan lumabas ng bahay dahil sa quarantine," he said.
Jimenez said the COMELEC will reopen its doors for registration on Monday, January 4. The deadline will be September 20.
Adding to the low turnout was the tendency of some to rush when it was already deadline.
"Siyempre iniisip ng mga tao na malayo pa naman ang deadline. Pero marami ang kailangang iparehistro at kaunti pa lang ang nagrerehistro. Pagdating ng taon magsisisksikan kayo n'yan," he said.
"Ang delikado sa siksikan ngayong panahon ng pandemya kung dati nakakapagod lang 'yan, ngayon nakakamatay pa."