By BABYLYN KANO-OMAR, DXGD-AM
BONGAO, Tawi-tawi—Registration centers of the Commission on Elections have been able to process only 50 voters’ registration forms per center on the second day of the general voters’ registration here.
This was among the problems that registrants encountered on July 10, the second day of the general voters’ registration for the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao on July 10. The general registration was scheduled for 10 days from July 9 to 18.
Local government officials reported long lines of residents lining up to fill up forms and have these processed by election officials but they said people got irritated because they had to wait a long time in the queue for their turn.
The started with registrants filling up forms and having their biometrics and other information encoded in computers, but the process was very slow and caused much delays.
Meantime, election officials have been reporting a surge of underage voters, which has been the perennial problem in Muslim Mindanao, but the concensus has been to allow these voters to fill up forms to avoid tension.
Comelec officials reasoned that they had two months to validate the voters’ list and they were sure that underaged registrants would be weeded out.
As this developed, volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting have been visible in the registration areas in Bongao, and have been assisting the Comelec.
(Babylyn Kano-Omar is a journalist at DXGD-AM, a radio station run by the Catholic Church in Bongao, Tawi-tawi. She is also provincial coordinator of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting or PPCRV and is president of the Electoral Reform Advocates. ARMM WATCH is a project of VERA Files in partnership with MindaNews, The Asia Foundation and Australian Agency for International Development.)