Comelec to register 20M IPs

Published by rudy Date posted on July 4, 2012

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) today signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), an attached government agency under the Office of the President, to ensure that an estimated 16 million to 20 million indigenous people are registered and qualified to vote in the May 2013 national and local elections.

The MoA was signed by Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes and all the commisioners, NCIP Chairman Zenaida Pawid and DILG Secretary Jessie Robredo.

The number of unregistered Indigenous Peoples (IP), the NCIP claimed, was 16 million nationwide, while the Comelec placed it at around 20 million.

Brillantes said that with the registration, the poll body may now determine the exact number of IPs qualified to vote.
He said the poll body was determined to register these “long-neglected” citizens to allow them to exercise their inherent right of suffrage.

In a statement after the formal signing of the MoA, Brillantes expressed his dismay over the government’s treatment of IPs, saying that for “too long the government (had) not accorded them the attention and respect they deserved as citizens of this country.”

The IPs were important people, he said, most of them were illiterates but that should not bar them from participating in electoral exercises as Filipinos. Since most of them inhabit mountain ranges and inaccessible areas, the poll body will find ways to bring the machines so they can register, with the help of the NCIP, non-government organizations, the DILG and local officials.

The poll chief also explained that the registration shall be held in at least 16 pilot areas, with at least one pilot area in every region where there are IPs. The pilot areas were chosen in coordination and consultations with the NCIP and the NGOs.

Asked how these IPs, who are mostly illiterates would be able to accomplish the required procedures in registering, the poll chief replied that they will be assited by election officers (EO), accredited citizens arms and the NCIP.
Robredo saw no problem as far as security of the registration is concerned and voiced out support for this Comelec project. –Van C. Suarez, Daily Tribune

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