THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has called on the public to register early as it resumes today (Monday) the continuing voters’ registration in preparation for next year’s barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or Youth Council).
At the same time, the Comelec also announced the resumption of registration for overseas Filipino voters from December 1, 2016 to September 30,2018 in connection with the May 13, 2019 national elections.
Comelec Resolution No. 10166 promulgated on October 25, 2016 sets the registration period for the 2017 village and SK elections from November 7, 2016 to April 29, 2017, including Saturdays and holidays except on December 24 and 25, 2016 and April 13 and 14, 2017.
“While we will have a longer registration period, we are still urging voters to register early to avoid long queues as we are expecting 5 million more registrants,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
According to Jimenez, the poll body expects 5 million more registrants during the almost five months’ registration period.
“We are expecting three million voters for the barangay elections and additional two million for the Sangguniang Kabataan elections,” he said.
The synchronized barangay and SK elections will be held on October 23, 2017.
It was originally scheduled to be held October 31, 2016 but was postponed by Congress in deference to the wishes of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Jimenez said applications for registration, transfer/transfer with reactivation, reactivation, change/correction of entries and inclusion/reinstatement of records on the list of voters will also be accepted at the local Offices of the Election Officers for the duration of the registration period.
For overseas voters, applicants can secure their Overseas Form No. 1 (OVF 1) through the websites of the Comelec or Department of Foreign Affairs or they can file online using the iRehistro facility.
Filipino registrants abroad may file their applications online through the iRehistro facility at www.comelec.gov.ph.
Section 6 of Comelec Resolution 1067 states: “All citizens of the Philippines, who are at abroad or will be abroad during the thirty  day voting period, at least eighteen  years of age on the day of the elections and not otherwise disqualified by law, may register.”
Based on Comelec data, 1,376,067 overseas Filipino voters registered worldwide for the May 2016 elections, 1,326,728 of them land-based and 49,339 seafarers.
In the 2013 mid-term elections, 737,759 overseas voters registered.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL