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Unity Statement: Give Every Filipino a Chance to Vote

We, the academe, civil society organizations, youth groups, and sectoral leaders, call on the national government and election stakeholders to extend the voter registration deadline and ramp up voter registration initiatives to ensure that all eligible Filipino voters will be able to participate in the upcoming 2022 elections.

Citing the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority presented by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), a projected 73.3 million Filipinos are eligible to vote by 2022, with the youth accounting for more than 25 million. As of now, there are only 60 million who are registered to vote. This means, more than 13.3 million[1] Filipinos are not yet registered.

Given the multiple hard lockdowns in various parts of the country and the closure of satellite voter registration sites due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus pandemic, concluding voter’s registration too early may risk disenfranchising the 13.3 million unregistered potential voters. Based on previous elections, this number is enough to change the outcome of the upcoming 2022 national and local elections.

In a time where democratic spaces are being challenged, now more than ever, it is important to value and ensure that we have exhausted all means to provide every eligible Filipino voter a chance for their voice to be heard.

Nevertheless, we welcome the efforts of COMELEC that allow more people to register before the September 30 deadline that includes an online voter reactivation status for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens, and an extension of voter registration hours.

Alongside these initiatives, we further call for specific measures such as increasing the number of satellite voter registration sites by partnering with local universities and colleges; exploring ways to accommodate first-time voters especially non-working and out-of-school youth; and adopting a multi-stakeholder approach in developing and implementing voter registration campaigns.

Sustainability and resiliency are two complementing concepts that strengthen the foundation of healthier and more inclusive societies. As the 2022 Philippine national elections draw near, we should call on the government and all other electoral stakeholders to infuse resilience into sustainability in our democratic processes for them to work.

The concepts of resiliency and sustainability, when done in practice, will result in the Filipino people not only being able to feel that they are encouraged to politically participate but also are empowered to make informed choices for our country.


[1] Source: Proposed Senate Resolution Urging the COMELEC to Extend the Deadline for Voter Registration from September 30, 2021 to October 31, 2021 to Prevent Voter Disenfranchisement Brought About by the COVID-19 Pandemic



Signatories:


Ateneo School of Government (ASOG)

La Salle Institute of Governance (LSIG)

National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL)

Caucus of Development NGO Networks Inc. (CODE-NGO)

Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services Inc. (IDEALS)

Action Bridges Aspiration Trainings Inc. - Maluso Branch

Active Moro Alliance For Development