Don’t give up your democratic right so you don’t lose your right to complain, Senator Francis Escudero told unregistered Filipinos as he reiterated his call for them to register before the October 31 deadline. “The right to vote or suffrage is one of the most crucial rights of the Filipino people and of all peoples of all democratic countries,” Escudero said.
“But many Filipinos seem to take the right to vote for granted. They do not exercise it,” he said.
Aside from the 4.3 million voters with unverified biometric data, another half a million Filipinos will have to repeat the validation process because they have incomplete information in the Commission on Election (COMELEC) database.
According to the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013, registered voters who do not validate their biometric data will be taken out of the voters’ list and not be allowed to vote next year.
Escudero said Filipinos are often daunted by the difficulties in the registration process either in their local precincts or the nearest offices of the Commission on Elections. But it would take less than 10 minutes to verify biometric data online, he said.
“We cannot complain about irresponsible, incompetent, and corrupt officials if we fail, or specifically, refuse to exercise the right to vote,” Escudero said.
The senator said it is important that Filipinos of voting age recognize and understand the importance of their right to vote in the protection and promotion of the whole democratic process.
“We need to participate in the very process of electing into office people we believe are deserving. And this long process – sometimes viewed as tedious – starts with having yourself registered properly,” Escudero said.
The Comelec is already making the rounds of malls in Metro Manila to make the mandatory biometrics registration more accessible to Filipinos. On July 15, civic groups are also launching the
“Boto Mo-Alamin Mo: Dahil No Bio-No Boto,” a project that seeks to educate voters on the biometric system.
“Magparehistro po tayo at makialam sa proseso ng 2016 elections. Nakasalalay ang kinabukasan nating lahat sa bawat boto ng mga Pilipinong may karapatang bumoto,” Escudero said.