BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Provincial Election Office is targeting more than 3,000 new registrants in the different parts of the province during the prescribed registration period for new voters that will end on January 31, 2023.
Further, Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Ricardo Lampac added that the office is also eying more than 5,000 additional Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) aged 15 to 17 years old who will register for the synchronized barangay and SK elections on October 23, 2023.
At present, Mountain Province has more than 117,612 registered voters as of the May 9, 2022 synchronized national and local elections.
On the other hand, the province has approximately 43,051 registered SK voters who are qualified to cast their votes during the October 23, 2023 barangay and SK polls.
Lampac urged all qualified voters wanting to cast their votes for their chosen barangay officials to ensure they are registered where they intend to vote so that their votes will be counted and to avoid them from being disenfranchised.
The provincial election officer rallied all qualified barangay and SK voters to visit the nearest election offices once the registration will resume on January 3, 2023 to avoid waiting for the last days of registration.
According to him, the marching orders of higher authorities is that there will be no extension in the prescribed registration period so that the programmed calendar of activities of the poll body for the barangay and SK elections will not be unduly disrupted to allow the different elections offices to be ready in time for the said polls.
Lampac stipulated there will be a significant increase in registered voters within the province once the registration period will end so that the new set of barangay and SK officials will be able to get their fresh mandate from their respective constituents.
He expressed hope that qualified voters will be empowered to register so that they will be able to actively participate in deciding the fate of their barangay and SK officials during the upcoming elections.
Lampac is one of the senior provincial election officers in the Cordillera who had been assigned in the different provinces in various capacities in the previous conduct of national and local political exercises pursuant to the mandate of the poll body on the reshuffling of officers to avoid partisan politics among them.
He pointed out that the poll body should not be faulted by the qualified voters who were not able to avail of the registration period to register in the places where they intend to vote because sufficient information and education campaigns had been done from the national to the local levels to ensure that people are aware of the ongoing registration period that started last December 12, 2022 and will end on January 31, 2023 to accommodate new registrants or those intending to reactive their status or transfer the place where they intend to cast their votes.
Bauko has the highest number of registered voters with 25,691 followed by Paracelis with 19,638, Bontoc – 17,132 voters, Tadian – 12,761 voters, Natonin – 8,615 voters, Sabangan – 8,594 voters, Sagada – 8,500 voters, Sadanga – 6,246 voters, Besao – 6,182 voters and Barlig – 4,253 voters.