100K voters still lack biometric data in Manila

Voters in long queues on 30 October 2009 at Quezon City Hall in Manila, Philippines, waiting to register to vote in 2010’s May 10 elections. An estimated 100,000 voters in Manila still need to have their biometric data processed to be able to vote in the 2016 polls.

An estimated 100,000 voters in Manila-more than enough to give candidates a comfortable lead especially in local elections-still need to have their biometric data processed to be able to vote in the 2016 polls.

This was according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which urged Manila residents of voting age to flock to Rizal Park today and register. The poll body is currently conducting a nationwide list-up campaign dubbed "Walkah-Walkah: Step Juan Tungo sa Mulat na Botante."

Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca called on voters from Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Ana, San Miguel, San Nicolas and Tondo to come to the park's Senior Citizen's Garden, the area's newest attraction which is beside the Artists' Haven.

All digital

The registration opens at 9:30 a.m. to allow voters to validate, transfer, reactivate, correct or update data. Voters will also be required to submit biometric information-mainly their digital photos, fingerprints and digital signatures. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) will be given priority.

Based on the online list from Comelec, more than 100,000 residents of the city still have no biometric information entered into the poll body's databank.

"Voters without biometrics will not be able to vote in 2016," Padaca stressed. The Comelec earlier said more than nine million registered voters in the country still had no biometeric records, hence the need for an aggressive campaign.

In February 2013, President Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10367 or "An Act Providing Mandatory Biometrics Voters Registration" requiring all voters to submit their biometric information to the Comelec or "face disenfranchisement" in 2016. 45 km in 25 days

The Comelec in April launched "Walkah-Walkah," which spokesperson James Jimenez said was designed to "capture the imagination of the population, inspire citizens to take action and encourage other organisations and institutions to come together and campaign for clean elections."

Jimenez, together with other Comelec employees and advocates, started walking from Laoag City on May 6 and had completely covered more than 400 kilometers in 25 days, through seven provinces in the north. The group covers around 10 kilometers a day.

"Walkah-Walkah" arrived in Caloocan on Friday and was set to go from Monumento to Sta. Cruz Church in Manila, through Intramuros and finally to Rizal Park.

Padaca said Manila residents may check the complete list of voters still without biometrics at www.comelec.gov.ph.