THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has advised people infected with conjunctivitis, more popularly known as sore eyes, to get well first before they register or undergo biometrics proceedings to avoid spreading the disease.
A biometric registration is the digital capturing of a voter’s photograph, fingerprints and signature to complete his registration record.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez made the appeal on Tuesday after an earlier announcement from the Health department about the prevalence of sore eyes and expression of concern from Comelec field personnel.
Jimenez said they share the concern of their personnel as the poll body launched its “Walang Forever” program to create awareness among voters and would-be voters that deadline for biometric and registration processes is only until end-October.
He added that they expect a lot of people to be coming in to the Comelec offices and would be in close proximity to each other and would be touching a lot of the same things, which can easily spread the disease.
“So there is some concern that people with conjunctivitis or sore eyes might actually be passing the problem around. We would like to ask people with sore eyes or conjunctivitis to please get well before you get registered,” Jimenez said.
New and old voters have until October 31 to register and submit themselves to biometrics to be able to vote in the May 2016 elections, while those that will transfer as overseas to local voters have until October 12.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said there would be no extension of the deadline because doing so would disturb their timeline for next year’s polls.
“No extension. We still need to print the ballots and a lot of other things to do. Besides, we have given the voters enough time,” Bautista added.
The system of continuing registration was started on May 6, 2014.
Bautista explained that everything has been made easy by the Comelec to encourage qualified new voters to register and for old voters to have their biometrics taken.
He said Comelec offices are open Monday to Friday for voters who want to register, and in various malls s nationwide during weekend.
Latest Comelec records said there are 52.3 million voters who have registered but the number is expected to reach 54 million after the registration deadline.
On the other hand, some 4.3 million voters have not submitted themselves to biometric registration, but the number is expected to be cut at least by half by end-October.
Majority of the these voters are in Metro Manila and in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).
The Comelec chief earlier admitted that he was among the estimated 500,000 registered voters in the National Capital Region or Metro Manila who were still without or with incomplete biometric data.
Bautista had his biometrics taken only recently at the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.