Comelec eyes nationwide expansion of 'Register Anywhere'

By Ferdinand Patinio

January 10, 2023, 3:55 pm

<p>Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia <em>(Photo from the Office of Comelec chairman George Garcia)</em></p>

Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia (Photo from the Office of Comelec chairman George Garcia)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking to include other regions in the country in its Register Anywhere Project (RAP).

"We are looking to expand its coverage. We are likely to eventually put RAP booths in all regions," said Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia in an interview at the launch of the RAP booth at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Gym in Pasay City on Tuesday.

Also, he noted that the RAP operations may even be expanded to weekday operations.

He said the plan to expand its coverage was proven to be effective in making voter registration more accessible to the public.

"Based on our initial findings, RAP has been good. It really provides opportunities to those that cannot go home to their provinces to get registered as voters," Garcia added.

So far, the project is being held in eight malls, the majority are in Metro Manila. These RAP booths are at SM Sucat in Parañaque City, Robinsons Place in Manila, Robinsons Galeria in Quezon City, SM Fairview in Quezon City and SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The provincial RAP sites are at Robinsons Tacloban in Leyte; SM City Legazpi in Albay province and Robinsons Place Naga in Camarines Sur.

On the other hand, the GSIS gymnasium will be the venue for the RAP from Jan. 10 to 13 and Jan. 16 to 20.

The poll body reported that there were a total of 1,129 applicants in the RAP booths during the period of January 7 to 8 -- nearly double from 611 applicants between Dec. 17 and 18.

Meanwhile, Garcia is hoping that the Supreme Court (SC) will issue a ruling on the petition to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSKE) filed by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.

"Based on our monitoring, according to the Chief Justice (Alexander Gesmundo), they will prioritize cases of national interest, foremost of which is on the constitutionality of the BSKE postponement. Thus, we are hoping that by the early part of this year, this petition will already be resolved," he added.

The petitioner questioned the legality of Republic Act 11935 which rescheduled the BSKE from December 5, 2022 to the last Monday of October 2023, saying Congress has no powers under the 1987 Constitution to postpone elections.

"As far as the Comelec is concerned, that will be the direction of our preparations, unless there are new developments between now and October 30," he added. (PNA)