GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 7 May) – The opening of the voter registration and validation here and nearby South Cotabato on Tuesday has turned out smooth and orderly despite some minor glitches, among them the daily rotational brownouts in the area.
Lawyer Jay Gerada, provincial supervisor of the Commission on Elections, said Wednesday the turnout of registrants was considerably high and most of their election offices nearly reached their targeted daily cap of 200 registrants.
He said a number of election offices reported long queues and the crowding of registrants even before they opened at 8 a.m.
Comelec-South Cotabato’s operational and administrative coverage comprises this city and the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
“The turnout was quite high considering that it was only the first day and the registration schedule is until October next year,” he said in a radio interview.
Gerada credited the high turnout of registrants to the increased awareness among residents regarding the initiative due to the massive information and education campaign earlier launched by the Comelec central office.
He said local residents responded positively to the agency’s calls for early registration to avoid the usual long queues during the days leading to its deadline.
The official said they have not recorded any major problem as to the conduct of the voter registration and validation as local election offices and personnel have prepared properly for it.
He said the forms and equipment needed for the involved processes were delivered and tested ahead of their schedule.
“We encountered problems with some of our computers but were eventually remedied by our personnel,” he said.
But Gerada said some election offices were forced to stop the processing of registrants for several hours due to the rotational brownouts.
This city and parts of South Cotabato province have been experiencing two to four hours of daily rotational brownouts due to the power supply cuts imposed by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.
The load curtailment was mainly due to the worsening power shortage in the critical Mindanao grid as a result of the declining capacity of the hydroelectric plants of the National Power Corporation and the scheduled maintenance shutdown of several privately-run power plants.
Comelec launched the voter registration and validation in preparation for the 2016 national and local elections.
The activity, which will end on October 31, 2015, includes the registration of new voters, taking of biometric records or information and the reinstatement of inactive voters.
The agency is targeting to register and complete the biometric records of some 9.6 million voters and enlist an additional three million new voters or those who will turn 18 on or before election day in 2016.