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Chiz urges voters to help ensure honest 2016 elections
« on: July 03, 2015, 12:23:46 AM »
Chiz urges voters to help ensure honest 2016 elections

LEGAZPI CITY, July 1 (PNA) -- Senator Chiz Escudero has asked Filipino voters, especially those still considered unregistered under Republic Act No. 10367 or the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013, to actively work for the holding of honest, clean elections in May 2016.

In an emailed statement received by Philippines News Agency Wednesday, Escudero said the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013 being implemented by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) contained provisions on voters’ disqualification if they were unable to be validated by providing biometric data.

This means voters will be removed from the voters’ list, making them ineligible to vote.

“The entire Filipino people, especially those who are eligible to vote, must recognize that voting is a sacred civic duty to preserve and promote our country’s democratic ideals and aspirations. While I recognize the difficulties of many of countrymen in providing their biometric data to the Comelec, these biometric data are legally required by the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013,” Escudero said.

He called on all eligible Filipino voters to comply with the biometric data requirements under the law.

"Full compliance with these biometric requirements is the very first step and among the primary foundations of protecting the democratic process of elections. Let us help the Comelec remove from the voters’ list those who may have evil and other designs that will taint and destroy the holding of a clean and honest 2016 elections,” Escudero said.

The Comelec has estimated that at least four million voters may be delisted from the voters’ list in time for the 2016 elections if they will not comply with the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013.

Comelec data in Bicol reveal that of the 2.8 million registered voters 362,869 voters, or 13 percent, have yet to register under the Mandatory Biometrics Registration.

“That is why is strongly urge them to fully understand that these biometric data are crucial to preserving the integrity of the national voters’ list. We should say 'no' to flying voters by giving biometric data to Comelec,” Escudero said.

Under the law, a voter is required to have an “automated identification” to be able to vote starting May 2016.

Biometric data are composed of a voter’s photograph, fingerprint and signature.

At the same time, Escudero called on the Comelec to ensure that its offices and personnel are ready and accessible to the voters.

“I am requesting the Comelec under Chairman Andy Bautista to make legally permissible changes in the working hours and deployment of Comelec personnel to handle the biometric registration,” he said.

Perhaps, he said, the Comelec should consider opening its offices from 6 a.m. and extending their operations until 10 p.m., from Monday to Sunday.

"The Comelec should also consider opening satellite biometric registration sites in commercial centers, malls, universities and colleges, and other areas frequented by a great number of people of voting-age,” Escudero said. (PNA)

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