14% of Davao City’s voting population still without biometrics

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 Oct) – Only three weeks left before the October 31 deadline set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for biometric data registration, at least 14.25 percent of this city’s voting population still have no biometrics validation as of October 3.

This is equivalent to 130,208 out of the 913,653 registered voters based on the data released by the poll body.

All voters must submit themselves for biometric registration, lest they will be delisted and cannot cast their votes in next year’s national elections. Voters who registered in 2004 and up may not need be subjected for biometrics registration.

This is mandated under Republic Act (RA) 10367, also known as “An act for Mandatory Biometrics Voter Registration,” which provides that registered voters whose biometrics data have not been captured shall submit themselves for validation in order to establish complete list of voters with complete biometrics data for the 2016 national and local election.

Last October 3, 2012, Comelec recorded 9.018 million registered voters without biometrics data.

During Thursday’s iSpeak Forum, lawyer Danilo Cullo, election officer of the city’s 2nd district, urged the voters to submit biometric data ahead and do not wait for the deadline.

The official also said that there have been voters who have multiple entries in their database who have been deleted, which is done quarterly to prevent flying voters.

Cullo added that Comelec-11 is all set for the start of the filing of certificate of candidacies on Oct. 12 to 16 (Monday to Friday).

On premature campaigning, he said the poll body has no direct control over the politicians because mere filing of COCs will not make them candidates because they become so upon the start of the campaign season, taking place sometime in February for the national elections and March for the local.

“According to the Supreme Court, there is no such thing as premature campaigning,” he said.

Although they don’t have hold over politicians’ early promotional campaigns, he said they discourage them from doing so and they leave it up to the voters who they will vote for.

He explained the purpose of holding early filing of COCs is for them to come up with an official list of candidates for the printing of official ballots.

For next year’s polls, there will be new set of machines to be utilized called the Optical Mark Reader (OMR), replacing the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) which had been used since the 2010 presidential elections.

However, there is no timeline as to when the OMR units will be delivered to the Davao Region and no schedule yet for the mock elections.