June 2, 2014 -
Philippine officials have announced that biometric voter enrollment will be mandatory in order to vote in the upcoming 2016 elections.
Officials are encouraging citizens who are 18 years old and above to register at Commission on Elections (COMELEC) offices throughout the country. According to COMELEC, registrants must bring identification cards issued by either the government, schools or employers to prove their identity.
Those who do not have IDs can still be registered by providing an affidavit swearing their identity. COMELEC local offices will now be open every Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to accommodate more registrants.
Sixto S. Brillantes Jr., COMELEC Chairman, has reminded voters in a previous statement that “those whose biometrics have not yet been captured should submit themselves for validation before their local COMELEC office in order to vote in the 2016 polls.” COMELEC will register voters for the May 9, 2016 national and local elections from May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015.
“Let me remind the public that their duty as Filipino citizens does not end at being registered,” stated Chairman Brillantes. “Registration is merely one step towards fulfilling such duty. The future of the government rests largely upon the active participation of the public in our cherished democracy and upon the kind of people we elect to public office. Accordingly, each of us ought to vote, regardless of our personal dissatisfaction towards the government, so that those elected to public office derive legitimacy and authority from those who are governed. Precisely, it is through election that we replace inept officials of the country.”
The COMELEC Chairman noted that the Commission safeguards the integrity and secrecy of the biometric voter registry. As noted in a previous BiometricUpdate.com article, while biometric systems are increasingly being deployed in the developing world with the aim to ensure a fair and efficient electoral process, it is important that countries, such as the Philippines, ensure that such data is properly regulated and safeguarded.