144,000 voters in Western Visayas lack biometrics

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Iloilo City (CNN Philippines) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded some 144,000 registered voters in Western Visayas who lack biometrics data that they will not be allowed to vote in the 2016 elections.

Comelec is intensifying its “No Bio, No Boto” campaign with the validation period now down to two months.

Comelec-VI Regional Dir. Atty. Dennis Ausan said 144,000 or 3.6 percent of the 4 million voters in Western Visayas still lack biometrics data.

Around 4 million registered voters have yet to undergo biometrics data capturing as of June 2015.

“Even if you have voted in the previous election, if you do not have biometrics data, Comelec will erase your name from the list and you are not allowed to vote in the 2016 elections,” Ausan said.

Ausan said Comelec offices in the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod are open from Sunday to Friday to accept all kinds of application such as new voters, application for transfer, reactivation, correction of entries, validation and taking of biometrics data.

A voter only needs to bring his or her birth certificate and valid IDs to proceed with the said services but starting September 1 until October 31 which is the deadline for the taking of biometrics, the two offices will be open from Monday to Saturday to synchronize with other areas in the region.

Comelec is also targeting voters in remote areas for the biometrics data capture.

In a data obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), out of the total 4,049,492 voters in Region VI during the 2013 elections, only 3,301,961 were able to cast their votes for an 81.54 percent turnout.

The Region 6 ranked six among 18 regions in the country in terms of voter turnout.

“We are still waiting for a resolution from the Comelec Central Office which will set the calendar of activities for next year’s elections such as the official dates for the filing of certificate of candidacy, campaign period and election period,” Ausan said.

The biometrics data refers to information identifying a person through fingerprint, voice, photograph and electronic signature, among others.

The rule also applies to candidates as stated in Republic Act. 10637 signed into law last February 2013 by Pres. Benigno Aquino III which stipulates that the absence of biometrics data is a ground for deactivation of the voter’s registration which is a basic requirement for candidates.