MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said the ongoing overseas voter registration will proceed as scheduled despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) threat.
“We won’t suspend registration of overseas voters. It will be continuous,” Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, commissioner-in-charge of the poll body’s Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV), said in an interview.
She, however, admitted that the Covid-19 scare is seen to impact the turnout of applicants to become registered overseas voters, particularly in areas where there is an outbreak of the disease.
“Yes, there has been (an effect). For example, in South Korea, they are not going out of their houses anymore,” she added. China and South Korea currently have the highest number of Covid-19 cases.
Meanwhile, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said there is nothing to worry about as there is enough time for applicants to register.
“If they cannot register now, they still have more time in the coming months, until next year there will be overseas voter registration,” said DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay in a separate interview.
The overseas registration started on Dec. 16, 2019, and will end on Sept. 30, 2021.
The Comelec is expecting to have some 2 million registered Filipino voters abroad for the May 2022 elections.
At present, there are some 1.3 million overseas voters around the world.
Filipinos abroad, who are at least 18 years old on the day of elections and are not otherwise disqualified by law, are allowed to register as an overseas voter. (ia/PNA)