The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the Philippines has announced its “register anywhere project (RAP)” for the upcoming voter registration period starting on February 12, 2024. This initiative allows qualified individuals to register to vote at designated RAP registration sites, regardless of their place of residence. To make this project possible, the Comelec has partnered with the three largest mall operators in the country: SM Supermalls, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, and Robinsons Malls.
Chairman George Erwin Garcia of the Comelec revealed that a total of 166 shopping malls across the nation have been chosen as registration centers for the RAP. The three major mall operators have committed to utilizing all their malls nationwide for this purpose. Additionally, other malls, particularly in Mindanao, have expressed their interest in joining as registration centers. This move aims to make voter registration more accessible and convenient for the public.
The RAP will run from February 12 to September 30, coinciding with the regular registration period at the Comelec offices in municipalities and cities. Registration will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including Saturdays and holidays, unless otherwise specified by the Comelec. This extended schedule provides flexibility for individuals who may have work or other commitments during regular office hours.
It’s important to note that the Comelec has made changes to the accepted identification cards for registration. Employee IDs will no longer be considered valid identification. Instead, only government-issued identification cards and barangay IDs with a picture and signature will be accepted. This adjustment ensures that the registration process maintains its integrity and complies with legal requirements.
To be eligible for voter registration, a Filipino citizen must be at least 18 years old on election day, which is May 12, 2025. They must also have been a resident of the Philippines for at least one year and have resided in the specific voting location for at least six months preceding the 2025 elections. Additionally, individuals must not be disqualified by law to register as a voter.
The expansion of the RAP coverage is a result of the project’s successful pilot implementation during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) registration period on October 30, 2023. The Comelec expects to register approximately 3 million new voters through this initiative, bringing the total number of registered voters to 71 million, up from the current 68 million.
In 2025, the Comelec will be conducting two elections: the mid-term polls in May and the BSKE in December. The RAP’s implementation in shopping malls nationwide will play a crucial role in ensuring a higher voter turnout and a more inclusive democratic process.
By partnering with major mall operators, the Comelec aims to make the voter registration process more accessible and convenient for the public. This initiative aligns with the goal of encouraging more citizens to exercise their right to vote, ultimately strengthening the democratic foundation of the Philippines.
Source: The Manila Times