Voters troop to Comelec for registration, long queues frustrate registrants

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) – Hundreds of voters trooped to the Commission on Elections office here today to register as the Comelec opened up registration in preparation for the barangay ang Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Oct. 28.

As early as 5 a.m., registrants from the city’s 54 barangays started to wait for them to get first on the line.

Today is the first day for the registration, which will last until July 31, according to the Comelec.

Several senior citizens who joined the queue said they were pissed off with the slow process, but some said it was okay even though they were not given priority.

Espina U. Ugay, 71, said she came 8 a.m. and waited until 3 p.m. Nobody came to help here.

With her cane on her right arm, MindaNews saw her sitting, waiting on the stairway.

“I waited for several hours. No one from the Comelec offered to assist me here and I even skipped my lunch,” she said.

Ugay said she wanted to be transferred to another voting place. She was registered in a precinct in Dinagat Island but now she wants to be registered in Barangay San Isidro here.

“It was so much hassle,” lamented Nilvalyn V. Castones of Barangay Sukailang. She used to be registered in Claver town in Surigao del Norte but now she wants to transfer to Barangay Sukailang here.

She said she came here at 8 a.m. As of 3 p.m. she is still in the queue.

Faustino Dipa, 60, of Barangay Talisay, an island village in the city, said he understands the situation given it is the first day of registration.

“I liked it better during the previous years because we used go to at the barangay to register,” he said.

Dipa was with 50 others who travelled from the island early this morning.

Aside from the long queue, the process is too slow, forcing others to back out. “Quite a number went home because they can’t wait long,” he said.

Peterson Rusillo, former chair of the island barangay of Aurora, observed that the long lines, too many registrants and the slow processing of papers at the Comelec are the problems here.

Lawyer Novern Irish Pasco, the city election officer, told MindaNews that today’s number of registrants was expected to be over a thousand, but the local Comelec office can accommodate only 400 a day.

He admitted that only two computers are being used for the registration.

Pasco claimed they are assisting persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens and pregnant women.
The Comelec office, he said, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and open in the weekend for the registration. He admitted that the huge number of registrants is the reason behind the slow process.