MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will re-open voter registration in October once the law postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections is finalized, the poll body chief said on Tuesday.
Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said they will release a timeline for the voters' registration, and he also clarified who will have to register.
"'Yung bumoto ng May 2016 elections, yung nagpa-register, di na kailangan magpa-rehistro. Alam ko rin may gusto humabol, lalo na sa SK. Bibigyan sila ng pagkakataon nung nagparegister na di na kailangan magpa-register o yung walang biometric, kailangan magpa-register," he said.
The House of Representatives has approved a bill postponing the polls to 2017, with subsequent elections scheduled every second Monday of May for three years afterwards. The proposed law is also in advanced stages in the Senate.
READ: House OKs bill postponing barangay, SK polls
Bautista said the poll body scaled down its own preparations for this October's election once it became clear that Congress intends to reschedule the election and that President Rodrigo Duterte backs its position.
Since August 27, he said, they have slowed down their ballot printing and eventually completely halted it.
"I would say siguro kahit 10% pa lang kasi medyo tiningnan namin nung nakita naman talagang direksyon sa pagpapaliban, medyo naghinay-hinay," he said.
"Kaya lang, di naman talaga kami pwedeng maipit sakaling di mapasa yung batas--kami naman ang magkakaroon ng problema dahil sa panahon ng paghahanda--pero ngayong maliwanag na direksyon, kami ay kampante mapapagpaliban na ang halalan," he said.
He added, they have already advised their Comelec Field Officials to already prepare for the reopened registration after the postponement.
Bautista said, the poll body will be using the money originally allotted for the supposed October 31 polls for the rescheduled election in 2017.
"'Yun ang gagamitin para sa susunod na halalan. It's a continuing appropriations. 'Di naman kalakihan na yung nagastos. Basically sapat pa naman yung pondong andiyan para sa halalan," he said.
He said, they intend to use the 400,000 ballots already printed for the rescheduled elections, but they would still have to assess since dates were also printed on the ballots.
The poll chief estimates that there will be over 55-million voters for the village and SK elections--more than a million more voters than the 2016 presidential elections, with the inclusion of teenage voters aged 15-17 years old for the SK.