DUMAGUETE CITY -- Negros Oriental provincial election supervisor lawyer Eddie Aba on Tuesday disclosed that the number of registered voters as of latest count has risen to an estimated 800,000.
This came as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the province, headed by Aba, continues with its campaign to ask voters to register for the upcoming Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) and Barangay Elections on October 29, 2017.
Aba said in an interview that there will be no extension of the April 29 deadline for registration of voters.
Those aged 15 to 17 years old can now register for the Sangguniang Kabataan elections and they no longer need to register again once they reach the age of 18, when they are of voting age for the regular elections, Aba said.
Records at the Provincial Comelec Office show that a total of 799,002 voters were registered during the May 2016 elections.
As of August 2016, Comelec records showed that a total of 806,625 voters have been listed in the Election Registration Board although this is not the final count yet as it still needs to go through a process such as a hearing and afterwards, an approval.
Aba also said he is expecting an increase of some 10,000 or more registered voters this time.
In Dumaguete City, a satellite registration desk is set up at the Robinsons Place shopping mall, and will be open every day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Sundays.
Those who did not vote in two previous consecutive elections are asked to register again with the Comelec.
The satellite booth at the mall is for registration of Dumaguete residents aged 15 and up, transfer of voting, record correction of entry, and reactivation, among others.
For the other cities and municipalities, registration is ongoing at the different Comelec offices, according to Aba.
Aba also said his office continues with its mobile registration especially in far-flung barangays.
Aba has expressed his gratitude to the election officer of Tubigon, Bohol, lawyer Ingemar Macarine, for his upcoming open water swim on Wednesday from Negros Oriental to Siquijor as part of the Comelec’s voters’ registration campaign.
Aba clarified that the Negros Oriental and Siquijor Comelec offices are co-sponsoring the activity, which they hope would attract the attention of the voters to understand their responsibility as citizens of this country to participate in any electoral process.
He said the open water swim of Macarine, dubbed the Pinoy Aquaman, is a way to catch the attention of the voters because this is an extraordinary feat.
Aba said if Macarine can do something that is difficult as swimming in open water for hours, why can’t voters just come and register when it only takes a few minutes to do it.
Macarine will swim for about 22 kilometers on Wednesday, taking off from Silliman Beach in Dumaguete City at around 5 a.m. and is expected to arrive at a still undetermined location in Siquijor in about 10 hours.
The Pinoy Aquaman said at a press conference Tuesday that he might be able to cut down on swim time to seven and a half hours, but everything will depend on the weather conditions.
He said he will be swimming in a curve, instead of a straight path to Siquijor, because local fishermen told him during an ocular inspection that the sea current is headed towards Dipolog in the south.
Macarine will be swimming solo, with motor bancas accompanying him to document his 27th open water swim.
He has a long list of open-water swimming events, such as the two-hour swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco in California, USA.
The Tubigon, Bohol election officer said that the Negros Oriental-Siquijor swim is not just campaigning for voters’ registration and for his advocacy of clean beaches, but also as part of his preparation to conquer the English channel on August 14, this year.
If successful, Macarine will be the first Filipino to swim alone across the English channel. (PNA)