Exercising your right to vote is one of the ways to fulfill your duty as a Filipino citizen. Choosing the best candidates can boost our economy, improve our international relations, upgrade healthcare system, and establish a bureaucracy that will open a lot of opportunities that will alleviate the quality of living of the people. Being informed about what is going on around and being well-informed of the background of the potential candidates are not enough for us to contribute to the radical change that we desperately want to have. We need an electoral participation if we want to give a significant contribution to our society.
While we have the right of suffrage, the first step to access it is through registering. Voter’s registration is a process of filing an application in the municipality where the applicant lives. Upon approval, the information of the individual who registered will be included in their files. Comelec registration will not give you hassle as long as there is no long queue in the registration area. Read on to know the qualifications, requirements, and process that you need to go through, as well as the new guidelines today amidst pandemic.
Who are eligible for registration?
As long as you possess all the listed qualifications, then you are good to go to prepare all the necessary requirements and register to your local Comelec office.
- A Filipino citizen
- Must be at least 18 years old on or before the election day
- Must be living in the Philippines for at least a year and must be living in the city or the municipality you intend to vote for at least six months
What are the requirements?
Registrants do not need to undergo the hassle of paperwork because all they have to bring is one valid ID, but they could also bring filled out application form to make the transaction faster. Below is the list of the following IDs that they could bring as per Comelec:
- Employee’s identification card (ID), with the signature of the employer or authorized representative
- Postal ID
- Person with disability discount ID;
- Student’s ID or library card, signed by the school authority
- Senior Citizen’s ID
- Driver’s license
- NBI clearance
- SSS/GSIS ID
- Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP) ID
- License issued by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC)
- Certificate of Confirmation issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in case of members of ICCs or IPs
- Any other valid ID
However, police clearance and cedula are not honored as substitutes for valid IDs but one may still register under oath by any registered voter in the particular precinct where they want to be registered or by any relative within the fourth civil degree of affinity as long as that voter did not identify more than three applicants before.
When and where to register?
The registration for the May 2022 elections has started on September 1, 2020 and will end on September 30, 2021. Applicants shall go to their local Comelec offices or at the Office of the Election Officer at their city or municipality. The offices are usually located near or exactly inside the city or municipality hall. As of now, online voter’s registration is not yet available so even though the applicants had a pre-registration or had an appointment online, they still need to go to their local Comelec offices or at the OEO.
To assure where your Comelec office located at, check out these directories:
https://bit.ly/3fUWogO – Metro Manila offices
https://bit.ly/3fVq8KM – Regional offices
https://bit.ly/3w0hiAT – Provincial offices
https://bit.ly/2TMOldx – City and municipal offices.
How to register?
Since we are in the middle of a pandemic, you should register as early as now instead of waiting for the last month of the deadline for registration. By registering early, you will be able to avoid long queue and crowded registration site which is much safer because there would be lesser physical interaction with more people, lowering your risk of acquiring COVID-19. Read the following guidelines so that you know what to prepare and what to do when registering in Comelec. There are some few modifications with the process because health safety protocols are being implemented.
- Prepare the original ID and its photocopy. The Comelec will be asking for the photocopy of your ID so better have a copy of it before going to their office. You should also bring the original ID with you for verification. As much as possible, bring an ID that shows your current address. You may bring more than one ID for back up.
- Download and fill out voter’s application form. For lesser time staying at their office, you may download and fill out the voter’s application form at your home so you just have to bring the already accomplished form. But, you should take not that you must not sign and put a thumb mark on your form yet because the officer is yet to verify your application. You could access the application form, supplementary data form, and coronavirus self declaration form from this link https://comelec.gov.ph/?r=VoterRegistration/ApplicationsForms.
- Book an appointment through their online portal. Due to the threat of the virus, applicants are encouraged to set an appointment first through this site https://irehistro.comelec.gov.ph/cef1 for local voters and this site https://irehistro.comelec.gov.ph/irehistro/ovf1 for overseas voters. If ever there is no appointment system at your local office, then walk-ins are allowed but make sure to practice safety protocols by practicing social distancing and by wearing face mask and face shield.
- Go to the office based on your schedule. Visit the office and present your requirements. The election officer will verify your information through checking your ID and accomplish voter’s registration form. Wait for the officer to check and verify the details that you provided in your form.
- It’s time for biometrics capture. Once your application was verified, you are now good to go to have your biometrics captured. They will take a photo of you and they will scan your fingerprint. Wait for the instruction of the operator so that you will have an idea on how to do it properly. After that, you have to sign on the signature pad to have your signature captured.
- Claim your acknowledgement receipt. After accomplish the previous steps, you will log your name and signature and the officer will give you an acknowledgement receipt. Your application still need to undergo the approval of Election Registration Board (ERB) an once approved, your information will now appear on book of voters.
Politics affects many aspects of our life and as citizens, we have the responsibility to take part of nation-building through choosing the best leaders that could supervise our country. We need to step up and register to vote. Let us not leave everything by chance because those who will be elected will be in their seats for how many years. Your vote matters and choosing to practice this right means that you are making significant contribution to our country. We deserve better leaders and we, citizens, are the ones who have the power to choose.