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Biometrics now in force to cleanse voters’ list

A measure making biometrics registration mandatory for the Commission on Elections has just been enacted by President Aquino. About 8 million Filipinos out of the close to 50 million registered voters have no biometric records with the Comelec, but they can still vote in the upcoming May 13 polls. Biometrics refer to the picture, fingerprints and signature of a voter recorded by a computer during the registration period. The system supposedly helps the Comelec in purging the final list of multiple registrants. Under Republic Act No. 10367, validation for voters who have undergone previous biometric registration shall begin on July 1. Voters who fail to submit for validation on or before the last day of filing of application for registration for purposes of the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated. “It is the policy of the state to establish a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters through the adoption of biometric technology,” the new law read. Registered voters whose biometrics have not been captured shall submit themselves for validation which shall be conducted by a city or municipal election officer. Voters who have been removed from the list may apply for reactivation after the May 2016 elections. Earlier, Mr. Aquino also signed into law a measure authorizing Comelec to establish poll precincts assigned exclusively for persons with disabilities and senior citizens. According to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, Republic Act No. 10366, signed on Feb. 15, will require the registration of PWDs and senior citizens before the poll body. “Comelec personnel shall also have sensitivity training to familiarize themselves with the needs of PWDs and senior citizens,” Valte said. The new law will also allow PWDs and senior citizens to be assisted in accomplishing ballot forms by their relatives either by consanguinity or affinity until the fourth civil degree or by members of the Board of Election Inspectors.
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