COMELEC Office Closed on a Weekday

April 8, 2009

Sharing this post from Ralph of AYLA… kindly pass and also give feedback, reports if similar incidents are happening in your areas this summer. So we can see how to best address such unfortunate incidents. Lets get the youth and young professionals to register this summer. Thanks much. -Tanya

“I was so happy that the top management of our company has been very
supportive of the ongoing campaign of Ayala Young Leaders Alliance
advocating voters’ registration. We, the employees are entitled for
one-day leave just to make sure that we are registered in our local
COMELEC office.”

“The COMELEC website has a feature of checking whether an individual is
registered or not. I found out that I am still registered though I
have no records for my biometrics. After office hours yesterday, I
immediately proceed to the bus station for an eight-hour trip to
Mulanay, Quezon Province where I am registered. Aside from seeing my
parents whom I have not seen for months, I was so excited for the trip
to have my biometrics captured and claim my voters ID which I have
been waiting for, for the past elections.”

“Upon arriving at the local COMELEC office at around 10:00 in the
morning, all my excitement faded upon seeing that the said office is
padlocked. My temper escalated upon seeing the long lines of equally
excited youngsters whom I assume are first time voters. Some were even
wearing their PE t-shirts of some Manila schools. What I was not
surprised is that most of them are like me who intend to maximize
their long vacation and placing their registration among their to-do
list.”

“The COMELEC en banc released a resolution stating that their local
offices should be open during Saturdays and holidays. Today is
Wednesday and apparently not a holiday yet. Since no one was around to
check if the office will still open, I rushed to the office beside
COMELEC to inquire. Only to know the worst – the said office is closed
since yesterday.”

“I believe that all our efforts in the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance and
Youth Vote Philippines should by all means be given equal effort and
commitment from the COMELEC. What is it for those young men and women
behind the advocacy of promoting voters registration only to be given
this inattention from the very institution which should be the prime
mover of citizen participation in the electoral process? What is to be
expected from our campaign of getting as many youth as possible to
register if our target individuals will only encounter padlocked
COMELEC office with no single personnel around especially during the
very rare chances that they can spare time to exercise their duties as
citizens?”

“Do not blame the youth for being so-called apathetic. Apathy is a
result of outright incompetence of most of our public servants. Among
the youth, most of us are doing our share. It’s just that more often
than not, we do not receive the expected effectiveness from those in
the bureaucracy.”

“Given the average turnout of registration, it will not be an
astounding possibility to deprive hundreds of thousands if not
millions of voters. The deadline for the registration is cut short
from December 15 to October 31, 2009 in order to prepare for poll
automation, as reported. Such directive poses the possibility of
significantly decreasing the number of potential first time voters,
unreasonable closing of COMELEC offices aggravates the saddening
scenario.”

“In the 2007 senatorial elections, around 6.4 million potential voters
were not registered. This number has significantly increased for the
2010 presidential elections.”

“We can recall the outcome of the past elections where the winners of
national elective positions have a margin of less than a million.
Assuming without conceding that there were no (massive) cheating,
imagine the difference that the votes of those who were unable to
register could have affected the final tallies. Bottomline – the
impact of the evident disregard of this very office to their mandate
definitely affect the outcome of the elections and the impression of
the public of the worth of exercising their rights and duties as
citizens.”

We appeal for immediate actions from the Commission on Elections. No
more excuses please. We are all tired to hear the seemingly endless
explanations trying to sew the loopholes in the systems the same
commission are implementing. We are doing giving our contributions.
We, the public, deserve no less
.

Ralph Reuben C. Morales
Ayala Young Leader batch 2004
Senior Development Specialist
AYLC Alumni and External Affairs
Youth Leadership Development Unit

Ayala Foundation, Inc.
10/F BPI Main Building, 6768 Ayala Avenue
corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City

Email ralph.morales@ayalayoungleaders.ph |
Web http://www.ayalayoungleaders.ph

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Comelec gets ready to purge current voter’s list

January 26, 2009

01/26/2009 | 02:04 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that it would purge voters from the voter’s list who had not voted in the past two elections.

Comelec spokesperson James Arthur B. Jimenez said that there were 53,000 voters who were deactivated or taken off the voter’s list in Bacolod.

“We [will tell] these deactivated voters that they [will] need to re- register if they wish to vote in the next elections. This method is actually a part of efforts to cleanse the voter’s list,” Mr. Jimenez
said in a statement issued on Sunday.

The Comelec has been criticized for not actively pursuing the purchase of biometric data scanning machines to cleanse the voter’s list.

The Comelec said that machines that cross-match the biometric data, or fingerprints, of a voter are expensive and that they would rather focus on getting the elections automated.

Mr. Jimenez said that deactivated voters have until the end of the year to register again. Continuing registration has yielded 45,000 new registrants in Metro Manila alone.

No national numbers have yet been released by the Comelec but the poll body expects around one to two million new voters for the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, Comelec Chairman Jose Armando R. Melo said in a separate interview that of the 17 vendors with optical mark reader technology, around a third have expressed interest in bidding for the automation of the 2010 national elections.

“Many of the companies interested are South Korean, American and Indian. But we have no preference yet, not even for those companies whose technology we have used before,” said Mr. Melo.

He added that bidding can commence once the budget is approved and the terms of reference are released. Even companies that have previously won contracts with the Comelec may also bid. The Comelec has decided to use the optical mark reader technology, which scans marked ballots over the direct recording electronic system, which uses touch pads.

The Comelec has been given a supplemental budget of P11.3 billion for the automation of elections.

Automating the national elections has been planned since 1998 but several failed bids have prevented its installation.

– Emilia Narni J.

David, BusinessWorld

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/145872/Comelec-gets-ready-to-purge-current-voters-list


Comelec opts for slower, cheaper system

January 20, 2009

By Kristine L. Alave

Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 04:34am (Mla time) 01/20/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Computing & Information Technology, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines—Cheap has won over fast.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will use the less expensive paper-based Optical Mark Reader (OMR) technology instead of the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) system using the faster touch screen technology in the country’s first computerized elections in 2010.

Comelec Chair Jose Melo on Monday said they were following the recommendation of the poll body’s advisory council to use the OMR instead of the DRE.

Melo said “affordability” was the main concern as the agency had asked for only P11.9 billion from the government for the 2010 polls.

“It’s the OMR,” he said. “It has a paper trail and paper audit, so there’s proof of the vote.”

Melo noted the OMR, where voters mark specially-printed ballots that are scanned and recorded into computers, was widely used abroad.

Touch-screen systems used in the November 2008 presidential elections in the United States were fraught with problems, with complaints that votes were not recorded properly, he said.

Melo said that there were also fears the touch-screen system could be easily hacked.

The Comelec tested the two technologies in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections last August.

The DRE was found to be faster in transmitting results but the OMR was much cheaper, Melo noted.

The Comelec had initially asked for P21 billion for the automated polls, but this was rejected by the lawmakers. The amount was lowered to P11.9 billion.

Since Congress has yet to approve the Comelec’s supplemental budget, Melo has asked lawmakers to act immediately so the poll body could bid out the project.

The poll chair said they hope to have the funds by mid-February so they could go full steam ahead on preparations and test the machines.


YVote news release in support of Task Force 2010 press conference (December 9, 2008)

December 9, 2008

Youth groups support call for electoral reform;
push for improved electoral processes through Web-based technology

The reform-oriented youth network, YouthVotePhilippines (YVote), expressed strong support for the call of civil society groups to push for urgent electoral reforms.

In a press conference held at Intramuros, YVote members joined Task Force 2010 in calling for the general registration of voters, the cleansing of the voters’ list, the enhancements of voters’ education and information campaigns on registration, and the full implementation of the automated election systems project.

“We, the members of Task Force 2010, will not stand idly by while the general welfare is sacrificed and our political institutions, including popular sovereignty through regular elections, are thoroughly undermined. We firmly believe that Congress and our political leaders should focus on more urgent concerns like electoral reforms rather than self-serving so-called ‘systemic changes’,” the group said in a statement.

“As a network… we have decided to unite together in the spirit of EDSA and push for genuine electoral reforms. Anchored on the fundamental tenet that the people are sovereign, Task Force 2010 hopes to mobilize each and every Filipino who loves this country to register and vote, in order to proactively partake in safeguarding our democracy.”

This event comes at the heels of a series of events that YVote held in Cebu, Davao, and Metro Manila between November 27 and December 7 to encourage the country’s over six million first-time voters to register for the May 2010 elections.

Improved voter registration process

Continuing voter registration resumed on December 2, 2008 under Commission on Election (COMELEC) Resolution No. 8514. An excerpt reads: “Applications for registration, transfer of registration records, reactivation and changes/corrections of entries in the registration records/inclusion of registration records/reinstatement of name in the list of voters, shall be personally filed beginning December 2, 2008 to December 15, 2009 at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) of the district/city/municipality where the applicant resides from Monday to Friday, during regular office hours at 8:00 o’clock AM to 5:00 o’clock PM.”

YVote core member Mildred Ople, who actively lobbied at the COMELEC for the resumption of continuing voter registration, pointed out significant improvements in the voter registration process that have been suggested by YVote.

“YVote strongly recommended that COMELEC upload its registration form on the COMELEC website to enable registrants to obtain copies of the form and fill them out even before heading to the COMELEC office to register,” Ople pointed out. “This makes the process a little bit easier, and is articulated under Section 8 of Resolution 8514.”

As of this writing, COMELEC’s website, www.comelec.gov.ph, already houses the said electronic copies of the registration form. Applicants are expected to print out this form, accomplish it in three (3) copies, and bring to the COMELEC office for signing and thumbmarking in the presence of an election officer.

“YVote also suggested that COMELEC establish Satellite Offices to accommodate more registrants. This is articulated in Section Four of the said resolution,” Ople added.

Increased pressure, greater support

The group initially expressed grave concern over delays in re-opening voter registration, which was initially slated for November 3.

In a letter to COMELEC Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, YVote reiterated that young Filipinos would be a significant force in the 2010 elections. The group signed a petition outlining four (4) possible areas where it can help the COMELEC address some limitations of the registration process for students and young professionals who live and vote in separate places.

These include: the utilization of schools in COMELEC’s information campaign, expansion of the availability of registration materials to schools and the Internet, the setting up of satellite registration centers or field mobile registration units, and the assignment of additional special registration days each first Saturday of the month.

In return for COMELEC support, YVote committed to mobilize member student councils, organizations, and individuals in schools and through online social networking groups to volunteer in these various activities. The group further committed to help make information and education materials youth-appropriate and exciting and to immediately bring these to a wide number of youth through its networks and partners.

At an event signifying the resumption of continuing voter registration, held at the University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila, YVote Lead Convenor Ching Jorge recognized efforts by “senior groups” to ensure that young Filipinos are given a voice in 2010.

“YVote and its partners in the youth movement look forward to open and facilitative coordination with COMELEC towards the electoral empowerment of Filipino youth,” she stated. “While we are still pushing for certain electoral reforms to be put in place—such as election automation using more transparent, efficient methods—we are thankful that our elders were open enough to accept our recommendations for the voter registration process. In the end, this is about giving young Filipinos a voice, and we welcome the many converging efforts to ensure that Filipino youth are empowered to elect their president in 2010.”

Aside from voter registration, YVote and its network partners are gearing up for the roll out of its program’s other components: on-the-ground voters’ education, an online portal for comprehensive candidate information; and the development of a youth agenda framed on the eight Millennium Development Goals.

A network representing groups from various sides of the youth movement, YVote’s core members include:  the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Akbayan Youth, First Time Voters Project, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations, the WhyNot? Forum, Youth Alliance Philippines, and Young Public Servants.


15,000 new voters register in Metro

December 9, 2008

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:10:00 12/09/2008

MANILA, Philippines – Around 15,000 Metro Manila residents went to the Commission on Elections during the first week of the registration period for qualified voters, a sign that Filipinos are enthusiastic about the 2010 elections, an official of the poll body said Monday.

According to Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, the turnout in the metropolis was better than expected, with the City of Manila having the highest number of registrants with 2,659 applications.

Quezon City was second with 1,885 applications. It was followed by 1,347 in Muntinlupa; 1,321 in Las Piñas and 1,129 in Caloocan.

The figures included not only first-time voters, but those applying for reactivation, transfer or to correct their information in Comelec records, Jimenez said.

He noted that the poll body was “pleased” with the turnout, especially since the bulk of the 15,000 applicants were new voters or young people.

“The influx of registrants at this early juncture shows the peoples’ renewed faith in the electoral system. This is a telling sign that the Filipino people, most especially the youth, are raring to go to the polls and this is certainly good news for the country’s democracy,” Jimenez explained.

The Comelec is eyeing at least three million registrants, the number of first-time and youth voters they expect to participate in the 2010 polls.

From what he has observed, Filipinos are eager to register and participate in the 2010 polls where they will elect a new batch of leaders, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said.

“If congressmen are reading the signs of the times and are sensitive, I think this is a pressure to push through with the elections in 2010,” he said.

Jimenez said qualified voters could register with the Comelec until Dec. 15, 2009. They should present valid identification cards such as an employee’s ID, postal ID, student ID, or driver’s license or other government-issued ID.

 


Group urges youths to register for 2010

December 2, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL POLLS
Group urges youths to register for 2010
Continuing registration for first-time voters to start today
news plus
By Elias O. Baquero
Sun.Star Cebu, December 2, 2008
Others Section, Page 10

SAYING no to disenfranchisement in 2010, the Youth Vote Philippines, urged first-time voters to register starting today so they can vote for the presidential elections.

Youth Vote Philippines is a group of progressive, reform-minded youth organizations working for voters’ education and empowerment. It is also the umbrella organization of the First Time Voters Network-Cebu composed of 17 youth organizations.

These are the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance-Cebu, Movement for the Advancement of Student Power UP Cebu, UV Political Science Society, Cebu Political Science Societies, Sobusteha Youth Association, Cogon Pardo Community Based Youth, SK Federation of Cebu, SK Federation of Liloan, Cebu; SK of Luz, Cebu City; SK of Mabolo, Cebu City; Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations, Akbayan Youth, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, National Youth Commission-Visayas, National Anti-Poverty Commission Youth and Student Sector, Center for Participatory Governance and the Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors.

They are federated to develop online and on-the-ground programs and events that will give young Filipinos the power of the vote and a clear voice for their collective aspirations.

11 million

In a press conference, Akbayan Spokesperson Ernie Edralin said young people comprise the majority of the voting population. For the young people ages 18-24 alone, the projected voting population of the National Statistics Office (NSO) in 2004 is 11 million.

Edralin said that five million, two million and six million first time voters were disenfranchised in the elections of 2001, 2004 and 2007, respectively, due insufficient information for new registrants.

“Our numbers show how crucial we are in the next elections. We would like to ensure that we will not have yet another case of millions of first time voters not having their chance to cast their first vote in 2010,” said First Time Voters project director Ailee Tejano.

Aside from the concern on the registration, the First Time Voters Project is a platform for new voters to put their stake and agenda for 2010.

Pro-active

The lessons of 2001, 2004 and 2007 and the current traditional political landscape gave us basis to be pro-active in encouraging fellow youths to participate and not allow ourselves to be muted in the electoral exercise that is very crucial in the coming months. If first time voters unite under a platform and choose better leaders that will transform the deteriorating situation that our country is now in, then we ensure the future we deserve. We can even elect the next president,” Tejano said.

As continuing registration will start today, Youth Vote Philippines will send 15 selected first time voters who will march from Plaza Independencia to the Comelec office at WDC Building, Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City and will give flowers to the Comelec staff on duty before they will register.


YVote news release on Dec 2 resumption of continuing registration

December 2, 2008

 

yvote-logo-red

Youth groups go full blast in promoting voter registration;

push for improved electoral processes through Web-based technology

A network of reform-oriented youth groups, under the banner YouthVotePhilippines (YVote), held a series of events in Cebu, Davao, and Metro Manila between November 27 and December 2 to encourage the country’s over six million first-time voters to register for the May 2010 elections.

 

Press briefings, media guestings, and a launch party were held from November 27 to 29 in Davao City. Present were representatives from YVote member groups Akbayan Youth and Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, as well as representatives from the Sangguniang Kabataan and local organizations Atty. Marlon Casquejo of the COMELEC in Davao was also present to support the event.

 

In Cebu City, a press conference was held on December 1, participated in by representatives from Akbayan Youth, TAYO Foundation, First Time Voters Project, Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Sangguniang Kabataan, local organizations, out-of-school youth, and the National Youth Commission.

 

Improved voter registration process

Continuing voter registration was slated to resume on December 2, 2008 under Commission on Election (COMELEC) Resolution No. 8514. An excerpt reads: “Applications for registration, transfer of registration records, reactivation and changes/corrections of entries in the registration records/inclusion of registration records/reinstatement of name in the list of voters, shall be personally filed beginning December 2, 2008 to December 15, 2009 at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) of the district/city/municipality where the applicant resides from Monday to Friday, during regular office hours at 8:00 o’clock AM to 5:00 o’clock PM.”

 

YVote core member Mildred Ople, who actively lobbied at the COMELEC for the resumption of continuing voter registration, pointed out significant improvements in the voter registration process that have been suggested by YVote.

 

“YVote strongly recommended that COMELEC upload its registration form on the COMELEC website to enable registrants to obtain copies of the form and fill them out even before heading to the COMELEC office to register,” Ople pointed out. “This makes the process a little bit easier, and is articulated under Section 8 of Resolution 8514.”

 

As of this writing, COMELEC’s website, http://www.comelec.gov.ph, already housed the said electronic copies of the registration form. Applicants are expected to print out this form, accomplish it in three (3) copies, and bring to the COMELEC office for signing and thumbmarking in the presence of an election officer.

 

“YVote also suggested that COMELEC establish Satellite Offices to accommodate more registrants. This is articulated in Section Four of the said resolution,” Ople added.

 

Increased pressure, greater support

The group initially expressed grave concern over delays in re-opening voter registration, which was initially slated for November 3.

 

In a letter to COMELEC Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, YVote reiterated that young Filipinos would be a significant force in the 2010 elections. The group signed a petition outlining four (4) possible areas where it can help the COMELEC address some limitations of the registration process for students and young professionals who live and vote in separate places.

 

These include: the utilization of schools in COMELEC’s information campaign, expansion of the availability of registration materials to schools and the Internet, the setting up of satellite registration centers or field mobile registration units, and the assignment of additional special registration days each first Saturday of the month.

 

In return for COMELEC support, YVote committed to mobilize member student councils, organizations, and individuals in schools and through online social networking groups to volunteer in these various activities. The group further committed to help make information and education materials youth-appropriate and exciting and to immediately bring these to a wide number of youth through its networks and partners.

 

At an event signifying the resumption of continuing voter registration, held at the University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila, YVote Lead Convenor Ching Jorge recognized efforts by “senior groups” to ensure that young Filipinos are given a voice in 2010.

 

“YVote and its partners in the youth movement look forward to open and facilitative coordination with COMELEC towards the electoral empowerment of Filipino youth,” she stated. “While we are still pushing for certain electoral reforms to be put in place—such as election automation using more transparent, efficient methods—we are thankful that our elders were open enough to accept our recommendations for the voter registration process. In the end, this is about giving young Filipinos a voice, and we welcome the many converging efforts to ensure that Filipino youth are empowered to elect their president in 2010.”

 

Aside from voter registration, YVote and its network partners are gearing up for the roll out of its program’s other components: on-the-ground voters’ education, an online portal for comprehensive candidate information; and the development of a youth agenda framed on the eight Millennium Development Goals.

 

A network representing groups from various sides of the youth movement, YVote’s core members include: the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Akbayan Youth, First Time Voters Project, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations, the WhyNot? Forum, Youth Alliance Philippines, and Young Public Servants.

 

 

__

Download the PDF file of the news release HERE