Youth groups to help Comelec

Cebu Daily News
First Posted 14:32:00 12/03/2008

Different community and school-based youth organizations led by Youth Vote Philippines and First Time Voters Project promised to help the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in encouraging first time voters to register for the 2010 elections.

The groups re-launched their registration campaign last Monday to avoid disenfranchisement of voters for the 2010 elections.

The groups included the Sangguniang Kabataan in Cebu City and Cebu Province, Ayala Young Leaders, Akbayan Youth, Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations, Young Public Servants and Youth Alliance Philippines.

Project director Ailee Tejano said their registration campaign started yesterday with a march from the Plaza Independencia to the Provincial Comelec.

Group volunteers were deployed in the different barangays (villages) in Cebu City to congratulate first time registrants.

But the first day of the registration irked some registrants due to the delays in the processing after one computer bogged down and the “morpho smart,” a device for finger prints, was defective.

Despite of the problems, there was still a large turnout of registrants that surprised the Comelec officials.

“The first day of registration is very unusual. The large turnout of registrants usually happen during the last day of registration, ” said Bernard delos Reyes, South district election assistant.

At least 200 first time voters registered on Tuesday from the Cebu City south district and 252 from the north district.

Cebu City Administrator Francisco Fernandez and Public Information Officer Nagiel Bañacia went to the Comelec office to check the ongoing registration, and provide the office the things that they needed like tents, among others.

Tejano said they will launch an R-18 concert around Cebu to convince the youth to register.

She said they will also organize watch groups in the different voting precincts during the May 10, 2010 elections to ensure honest and clean election.

Ernie Edralin, spokesperson for Akbayan-Central Visayas, said they will also ask the Comelec to create a satellite registration office in the mountain barangays of northern Cebu City district for the youths who cannot come to the city to register.

Edralin said they will also ask the Comelec to create website for all candidates in the coming elections, that would include their personal background.

He said it would be easier for the youth to decide who to vote if they know the candidates beforehand.
The Comelec projected around 4.5 million out-of-school youths to register for the first time.

A list from the National Statistics Office showed there were six million first time voters disenfranchised in the 2007 elections, 2 million voters in 2004 elections, and 5 million voters in 2001 elections.

The groups wanted to ensure that revocation of right to suffrage would not happen again.

The groups clarified that they will not support nor endorse any politician. Edralin said they would not let incidents in the past to happen again, wherein politicians offer free ride to first time voters during registration.

The registration for this year will end on December 19. It will resume on January 2 until December 15, 2009.

Registration forms are available at the Comelec offices. It can also be downloaded from website www.comelec. gov.ph. /Correspondents Carine M. Asutilla And Jully Venus Cuizon

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