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Philippine Congress passes bill for mandatory biometrics registration


Both houses of Congress have now approved a bill requiring all voters in the Phillipines to undergo biometric registration for the country’s 2016 elections.

The bicameral conference committee, headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel II approved the proposal, which requires all voters to appear before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to have their photograph, fingerprints and signatures recorded, Rappler reports.

As reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes previously released a statement suggesting that eight million Filipinos – of 15 percent of total voters – would be robbed of their right to vote if Congress were to pass this biometric bill before the 2013 election.

Brillantes later clarified his stance on the Bill, which others in the community had suggested were alarmist in nature, understanding that 2016 was a more reasonable timeframe for deployment.

According to the Rappler article, capturing biometrics during voter registration was initiated in 2004 and this new proposal is seen as a way to eliminate irregularities such as double registrants in the system. After a mandatory biometric registration earlier this year meant to cleanse the voters’ list, Comelec delisted nearly 300,000 registrants using an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).

Ghana has also introduced a biometric registration for voters in its upcoming election. The election, set to take place Dec. 7, 2012, has already been plagued by alleged voter ID card fraud and poor turnouts for tests.

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