The Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines, the first nationally organized leadership development organization established in Asia, continues to urge more youth to register to vote with only more than two months left before the last day of registration. This is even after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reached its goal of 4 million new applications.
As of June 2021, Comelec has recorded 4.8 million applications – 4.3 million new registrants and 500,000 reactivated voters.
“The news about Comelec surpassing its goal of 4 million registrants is a welcome one. But that doesn’t mean that the success of the upcoming elections is assured. The number of registered voters doesn’t always mean high voter turnout, so we still have a lot of work to do, and right now the key is to encourage more people to go out and register.” This is according to Fulbert Woo, 2009 JCI Philippines National President and Ambag Ko Project Head.
According to Comelec data, of the 61,843,771 registered voters for the May 2019 midterm elections, only 46,937,139 million voted and only 44,549,848 of the 54,363,844 registered voters actually voted in the 2016 national elections. The number of registered voters who didn’t vote – more than 14 million and 9 million, respectively – may seem insignificant compared to those who did their voting duties, but are still crucial in deciding the future of a nation battling a pandemic and a slew of urgent environmental issues. With fear of the coronavirus still palpable, voter turnout percentage is expected to be even lower for the 2022 national elections.
Efforts to bring the registration closer to eligible voters are ongoing such as additional satellite registration sites in rural areas and partnerships with private companies to mount more sites in malls.
This is helpful for senior citizens and others who wish to register or reactivate their records but are wary of going out and is especially urgent for the reported 7 million voter profiles deactivated, with only 700,000 individuals reactivating their records at the Comelec so far.
While we are launching digital campaign in our social media handles, JCI chapters across the Philippines are working on the ground to implement campaigns through townhall meeting style as well. Chapter see the need for grassroots voter education in schools and barangay level.
JCI Philippines likens registering to vote to mounting community pantries that sprouted all over the country around May. These community pantries were instigated by ‘regular’ Filipinos and has started a domino effect of doing good.
“It takes initiative, perseverance and patience to go out — in the heat and even the threat of a virus — and do something that benefits the people and your country.” This according to the 2021 JCI Philippines National President Jude Acidre.
Stories of hope and Bayanihan flooded the news and social media feeds of Filipinos in recent months. There was the farmer, with very little for himself, but chose to donate extra produce to community pantries and the taho vendor who gave away his goods to checkpoint personnel at the height of lockdowns.
Registering to vote, while an individual accomplishment, is just as meaningful an act that benefits all.
Voter registration for the May 2022 elections will run until September 30, 2021. Eligible voters may register from Tuesday to Saturdays, 8AM to 3PM in COMELEC offices. The public can accomplish their application form and set an appointment online through the COMELEC website or go to the nearest Comelec registration site.