I have no biometric record – poll chief

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COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista is among the 4.3 million voters who face disenfranchisement in the 2016 presidential elections for failure to submit to biometric registration.

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“I have been a voter since 1986 but I don’t have a biometric [record],” Bautista admitted over the weekend.

The Comelec chief, however, assured that he would have his biometrics taken in July at a mall in Quezon City.

Bautista disclosed that the Comelec has tapped different malls in Metro Manila in setting up satellite registration booths there to make it easier for first-time and elderly voters to submit to biometric procedure.

The poll body has also implemented satellite registration in various barangay and opened priority lanes as well for senior citizens, persons with disability and pregnant women.

Comelec records show that majority of the estimate 4.3 million registered voters who still need to have their biometrics taken are from Metro Manila and the Calabarzon area.

Qualified voters have until October 31 to register and undergo biometric proceedings, which require the taking of a digital photograph, signature and fingerprints of every voter, an added election safeguard aimed at eliminating “flying voters,” among other forms of voting frauds.

Republic Act 10367 or “An Act Providing for Mandatory Biometrics Voter Registration” requires all voters to submit their biometric information to the Comelec or face disenfranchisement in 2016.

Bautista advised voters to have their biometrics taken in the place where they were registered to avoid complications that arise from cross-town or -province biometric registration even if it is allowed.

He reminded voters who failed to participate in two successive elections to register again as their names have already been deactivated from the Comelec’s list.

The basic requirement for biometric process for old -time voters is a Comelec identification card or his or her voter’s registration copy and for first-time voters, valid identification cards, such as driver’s license and school or postal IDs, among others, except police clearance and cedula (residence certificate).

Earlier, the Church-based poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) also joined the Comelec in raising voters’ awareness on the need to submit to biometric registration.

The PPCRV has tapped the support of the bishops and parish priests to help in the information dissemination of the Comelec’s “No Bio, No Boto” campaign.

“The PPCRV will be assisting the Comelec by sending letters to bishops of dioceses and priests in all parishes to issue the reminder every Sunday Masses to the faithful on checking their voters’ registration statuses,” PPCRV Chairman Henrietta de Villa said.

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