MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) launched its satellite voter's registration in malls on Saturday, September 6, to encourage more Filipinos to register for the 2016 national elections.
Four Robinsons malls in Metro Manila were the pilot venues for this activity: Robinsons Place in Manila, Robinsons Galleria in Quezon City, Robinsons Forum in Mandaluyong City, and Robinsons Metro East in Pasig City.
Besides the registration of new voters and validation for voters who lack biometrics data, Comelec would also entertain the transfer of voter records and reactivation of records for those who were unable to vote in the last 2 elections.
Applicants should bring a valid ID to register. The poll body also clarified that only voters in the cities where the malls are located can avail of the services in the said venues.
Comelec would soon announce the regular schedule of voter's registration in these malls, after they assess the registration turnout on Saturday. (READ: Comelec taps Robinsons malls for voters' registration)
"More or less, it would take place on weekends. But in some places, depending on the demand, we may hold it on weekdays, maybe Mondays and Wednesdays," said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.
Comelec brought voter's registration to malls when they observed the low turnout of applicants in local Comelec offices since the activity started in May.
"Kasi alam nilang matagal pa eh, hanggang October 2015 pa. Hindi sila nagmamadali (Because they know they have until October 2015 to register. They're not in a rush yet)," said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.
The poll body then decided to go to the people rather than waiting for them to come to their local offices, explained Brillantes.
"Now that we're the ones going out to the public, we're encouraging them to register," said Brillantes, who stressed the importance of the May 2016 presidential elections.
Comelec targets 9.6 million voters who have incomplete biometrics data. They would not be able to vote in the 2016 polls if they do not validate their voter records, noted Brillantes. The poll body also expects 3 million new voters.
Brillantes said that Comelec plans to conduct satellite voter's registration in malls outside Metro Manila, as well as in other malls besides those operated by Robinsons.
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.