MANILA - The Commission on Elections started its Voter Registration Awareness Caravan at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila on Wednesday to encourage the youth to register and vote in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 23.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body recognizes the youth's power to influence the results of the elections.
"Napakalaki ng papel ng kabataan sa isang halalan, dahil ang dami ng kabataan from 18-30 years old. They comprise 40-45 percent of the electorate. Kung iisipin natin that translates to 21 million votes. Noong nakaraang halalan, ang ating pangulo ay nakakamit ng 16.9 million votes. Kung ang kabataan ay nagkakaisa at boboto para sa isang kandidato ay siguradong mananalo yung kandidatong yon," Bautista said in his speech.
Comelec data shows that there were 2.2 million registered voters for the Sangguniang Kabataan aged 15 to 17 years old in 2010. The poll body expects registration to increase by over 1,000 percent, now that the law has expanded the age bracket for SK to 15 to 30 years old.
As part of the activity, the poll body set up a satellite voter registration center inside the PLM campus for residents of Metro Manila.
"In Comelec we try to be voter-centered, imbes na maghintay na tumungo kayo sa aming opisina, kami na ang pupunta sa inyo para maging madali mas maayos at mas maginhawa ang proseso ng pagboto," Bautista said.
James Benedict Gutierrez of the National Youth Commission (NYC) also encouraged the youth to come out and vote.
"Let us take this opportunity to come out and register," he said.
The Comelec and the NYC mentioned the need for information dissemination on the new provisions of the SK law. This includes the anti-dynasty provision for SK, which prohibits the candidacy of anyone who are relatives of any incumbent national or local official up to the second degree of consanguinity.
The poll body is set to roll out voter education campaigns in partnership with youth groups and universities nationwide.
Registration deadline for October 23 Barangay and SK elections will be on April 29, 2017.