Comelec in Region 12, Zambo ready for SK poll registration

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 September) — Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices in Region 12 are all set for the 10-day registration period for the 2015 Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Lawyer Jose Villanueva, Comelec Region 12 assistant regional director, said Friday their field offices in the region have already completed their preparations for the SK registration, which will run from September 20 to 29.

“The necessary forms are now ready and the systems for the registration process have been finalized by our field officers and personnel,” he said.

Comelec-12 has jurisdiction over the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.

Although a part of Region 12’s administrative coverage, Cotabato City is currently under the Comelec in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Citing provisions of Comelec Resolution No. 9899, Villanueva said those eligible to register for the SK are youths aged below 18 years-old and not less than 15 years-old on the day of the scheduled elections on February 21, 2015.

“That means all those born from February 22, 1997 to February 21, 2000 are eligible to register and participate in next year’s SK elections,” he said.

The official said eligible youths must present proofs of their age like birth certificate, baptismal certificate and school identification card before they would be allowed to register.

Villanueva said the registration process will be done manually and will not include the taking of biometric records.

“The process will be much faster when compared to the ongoing registration of regular voters,” he said.

He said Comelec offices will conduct the SK registration within the office hours or from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but will include Saturdays and Sundays.

Villanueva said that after the scheduled 10-day registration period, eligible youths will no longer have a chance to register for the 2015 elections unless they file petitions for inclusion in local courts.

As of Friday, he said they have delisted around 60,000 youths from their SK registry or database for exceeding the age eligibility limit.

He said the region’s SK registry has so far gone down to 43,000 from 103,000 in the previous youth elections.

Villanueva advised youths who had been delisted from the SK database to register anew as regular voters in the election offices in their areas.

In Zamboanga City, the Comelec said they expect at least 10,000 registrants from the city’s two districts comprising of 37 and 61 barangays, respectively.

First district election officer Stephen Roy Cañete said they were ready for the 10-day registration.

Voters will choose an SK chairperson and seven council members.

The SK election was supposed to be held together with the barangay election last year but was postponed to allow Congress to pass a law that would institute reforms in the SK system. There were criticisms that the SK had been ineffective and manipulated by local politicians.

The Comelec decided to push through with the holding of the SK elections since no law was enacted by Congress. (MindaNews)