Over 100 business groups and schools are urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the voter registration until the end of next month.
In a joint statement yesterday, the groups said the deadline should be moved to Oct. 31 from Sept. 30 “when public quarantine conditions shall have been relaxed and people can move about in somewhat greater safety.”
Among the groups and schools are the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Far Eastern University, Cebu Business Club, Filipina CEO Circle, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines and Miriam College.
The groups said many Filipinos have been unable to register given the risk of catching COVID-19, concerns on the uncertainty of getting effective treatment, and the need to adjust to changing public quarantine guidelines.
In particular, many of the younger would-be voters have not been inoculated as they are not part of the priority sectors for vaccination.
The groups said even as the Comelec is using satellite sites such as school campuses, shopping malls and other public and private institutions for voter registration, there is still a need to extend the deadline.
“We note that the cut-off date for voter registration in 2010, 2013 and 2016 was Oct. 31. If an exigency justifies an extension, then certainly this once-in-a-lifetime crisis is one that calls for it,” the groups said.
“Citizens should not be asked to choose between risking their health and fulfilling their constitutional duty,” they added.