112,440 voters face disenfranchisement PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 September 2015 11:49

by Bhong Simbajon


A total of 112,440 voters or 27% of the total number of registered voters in Zamboanga Cit are expected to be delisted from the official voters list by the City Election Office of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), if they cannot catch up with the October 31 deadline set by the agency to complete their Biometrics Data to update their voters record.

At present, Zamboanga City’s voting population has reached 412,530 which is almost a half of the present total population for both District 1 and District 2.

As of September 2, 2015,  District 1 has recorded some 218,343 registered voters while District 2 has 194,187 of which 94,655 are with incomplete biometrics while the remaining 17,785 voters have no biometrics record at all, and as far as the new regulations of COMELEC, these voters have to de-listed from the official list for the forthcoming elections in 2016 if they cannot catch up with the prescribed deadline next month.

The situation made District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat and District 2  Congresswoman Lilia Nuño worried, because of the very sizable number of registered voters facing disenfranchisement ,saying that it is a big loss not to the said office but to the city that will experience a strong impact in the drop of voters who will go out and vote for their chosen candidates.

In a press conference yesterday, Lobregat and Nuño said this situation is very alarming, that’s why they have decided to seek the help of all media outlets and barangay officials to go out and inform the public extensively about the predicament and for the concerned registrants to find time in going to the city election office or the designated scheduled satellite registrations in their respective barangays to re-validate their biometrics data.

“The dis-enfranchisement of some 28.9% from the total number of voters for district 1 and some 25.3% from district 2 is something to be worried about, because they cannot vote for their chosen leaders,” Lobregat stressed.

He said the people should have to realize that we only have Monday to Friday in September, that is about 18 days for this month and lesser than that in October due to the period of filing of the Certificates of Candidacy (COC)of candidates of October 12-16,2015, where there is no scheduled registration as well.

The solon believes that a consistent and strong advocacy in this campaign is necessary thru media because the COMELEC has stopped their satellite registrations in the barangays to give way to their office registrations from 8am to 5pm daily until October 31 and after that the validation ends.

“This situation is very alarming, because it will also create trouble and confusions to the electorate during election day,” Lobregat said.

He believes that time is immaterial for COMELEC to catch up with their registration and biometrics data completion under the new electronic system of the said office using Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) in the conduct of elections in the country.

Rep. Nuño said that in her district, a big problem is presently being experienced by those voters from the Eleven Island barangays of District 2, because they were not given any schedule at all for satellite registration within their island villages.

Nuño said that she has coordinated already with all the barangay officials of the affected barangays in her district to find time to go to the city election office in the coming days to personally register themselves and avail of the proper biometrics procedures.

The two solons urged COMELEC to do their job with sense of urgency to catchup with the schedule. It was learned that at present, City Election Office is being manned by only one Election Officer Atty. Stephen Roy Cañete of District 1, because Atty. Lerdo Matildo of District 2 is on leave for two months effective this month of September.– Bhong Simbajon/RMN News