Thursday, September 18, 2014

.2-M Ecijano voters may lose right of suffrage in 2016-- Comelec

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – A massive disenfranchisement of voters is looming in vote-rich Nueva Ecija as more than 200,000 registered voters may lose their right to vote in the 2016 synchronized local and national elections over their failure to update their voters’ records using the biometrics system eligibility requirement prescribed by law.

          Lawyer Panfilo Doctor Jr., provincial election supervisor, said that based on latest records from the Commission on Elections provincial office, a total of 213,141 registered voters are still without or have incomplete biometrics and thus, are automatically disqualified to vote.

          Doctor said this figure represents roughly 15 percent of the total number of registered voters in the province of 1,360,508.

          Of the 213,141 voters without biometrics, this city – the province’s trade and commercial center – has 63,116 voters or 27 percent of its total of 228,191.

          Aside from this city, other areas with large number of registered voters without or have incomplete biometrics are San Jose City (21,541 out of 99,179 voters, 20%), Talavera (15,418 of 77,407, 19%), Guimba (11,188 of 65,384, 17%) and Gapan City (10,100 of 78,527, 12%).   

          Leo Navarro, city election officer of this city, said only 165,075 voters have biometrics data. He said that they have embarked on a massive information campaign in the city’s 89 barangays to prevent the voters’ records from being deactivated for lack of biometrics.  

          The mandatory biometrics registration of voters is provided under Republic Act 10367 signed by President Aquino on February 15,2013.

          Biometrics refer to the quantitative analysis that provides a positive identification of an individual such as voice, photograph, fingerprint, signature and other identifiable means.

          RA 10367 mandates voters to undergo “validation” which it defines as the process of taking  the biometrics of registered voters whose biometrics have not yet been captured.

          The city and municipal election officers have been tasked to conduct the validation which started in July 2013 consistent with the continuing registration specified under Resolution 9853.

          In the province, only 7,014 registered voters applied for validation out of the 213,141 who did not have biometrics, or a measly three percent.

          Last May, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said 9.6 million registered voters or 18 percent of the 53 million registered voters nationwide have no biometrics.

The Comelec has stated that the registration will not be extended and failure of old voters to update their records through the biometric system would mean they could not exercise their right to vote in 2016.

The system would not affect new voters since they will automatically undergo the biometrics process.  

The Comelec provincial office said their personnel have been going to the various barangays of the province to encourage registered voters to update their records but many would not respond.

Based on the poll body’s records, the list of areas with recorded biometric deficiency in the voters’ records  are the Science City of Muñoz (6,843 of 55,642, 12%), Palayan City (5,311 of 32,668, 16%) and the municipalities of Aliaga (7,736 of 40,667, 19%), Bongabon (2,865 of 40,919, 7%), Cabiao (3,088 of 43,897, 7%), Carranglan (4,206 of 24,938, 16%), Cuyapo 2,739 of 35,733, 7%), Gabaldon (1,232 of 19,938, 6%), Gen. Natividad (1,603 of 25,054, 6%), Gen. Tinio (2,574 of 30,322, 8%), Jaen (627 of 44,792, 0.01%), Laur (2,097 of 20,524, 10%);

Licab (2,055 of 16,662, 12%), Llanera (2,890 of 24,989, 11%), Lupao (3,557 of 26,668, 13%), Nampicuan (626 of 9,439, 0.06%), Pantabangan (4,141 of 22,304, 18%), Penaranda (1,587 of 20,669, 0.07%), Quezon (3,048 of 18,834, 16%), Rizal (3,843 of 32,924, 11%), San Antonio (4,939 of 47,511, 10%), San Isidro (1,376 of 27,175, 5%), San Leonardo (4,163 of 35,060, 11%), Sta. Rosa (8,375 of 40,533, 20%), Sto. Domingo (5,922 of 35,874, 16%), Talugtug (769 of 12,734, 0.06%) and Zaragoza (3,566 of 25,440, 14%). – Manny Galvez

Founders, participants of the Integrity Initiative commended

The Senate adopted a resolution commending the founders and participants of Integrity Initiative for their efforts to institutionalize integrity standards among all sectors of society and curb corruption in the country.

Sen. Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, who introduced Resolution 868, said the founders and participants of Integrity Initiative deserves to be recognized for its efforts to minimize if not totally eradicate corruption since it’s the greatest impediment to good governance, transparency and accountability in any nation.

Guingona said the resolution also urged government to require all private firms engaged in business to sign the “Integrity Pledge,” a formal agreement to adhere to ethical business practices and to support a national campaign against corruption.

“Private sector initiatives such as this reignited hope for the nation and helps the government restore the trust and confidence of its people,” Guingona said.
"Integrity, transparency and accountability are the three main ingredients needed to finally curb the culture of corruption in our society. We are all called not only to do our jobs competently, but to live our lives with integrity," Guingona said.

A commendation, he said, is in order for the founders, participants and supporters of the Integrity Initiative. (Mae Joy Albano- Miranda)


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