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PIA Press Release

Maasin Comelec to hold 3-day open registration

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (23 October) -- On the last week of the final days of registration for new voters and transferees, the local office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will swing its doors open and conduct a three-day registration at the city gym here, from Monday to Wednesday next week, October 26-28.

It would have been a full week, had the days Thursday and Friday been not booked earlier, said Lawrence Gelsano, the new city Election Officer who assumed his post last August 1.

Gelsano told PIA by phone today that the move, as they envisioned it to be, would encourage new voters and transferees residing in the city to really come out and have themselves listed so they can exercise their right to vote for next yearís elections.

At the height of the registration days, the City Comelec office entertained more than a hundred new registrants on the average, but lately this has been significantly reduced to about 50%, said Gelsano, adding that yesterday, October 22, for instance, only a little over 50 came to their office to register.

Also yesterday, the Comelec offices nationwide extended the time for registration up to nine in the evening, and on the last day, October 31, they will be up until midnight.

Filipino culture always rushes things up on deadline, and this was the rationale for the Comelecís extension of its services, observers noted.

With little registrants showing up by the day, Gelsano hoped to drum up the process by having it at the city gym next week for three straight days, after which the registration will continue at the new office, which is just across the city gym anyway, the space vacated by the DepEd district office.

Asked on how many registered voters so far in the city, Gelsano declined to give specific figures, saying this can be given next week after checking on the their data thus far.

Earlier figures put the qualified city voters at around 43,000 and this will expectedly increase with the addition of new voters. For the entire Southern Leyte province, there were 235,639 registered voters as of October 29, 2007 barangay elections, according to the Comelec provincial office.

Meanwhile, Comelec Officer Gelsano revealed he was able to register by virtue of a Court Order some twenty-one (21) inmates at the city jail, and these prisoners were registered as voters in the barangay where they came from.

Gelsano was the election officer of Sogod before he was assigned in the city. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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