No Bio, No Boto: A 10-Point Guide to Registering for the 2016 Elections

One of things I learned from my former boss Lory Tan is that governance is not government; it is you and I. Democracy is not freedom; it is participation. If you would like to help build the nation through meaningful civic participation, I encourage you to vote in the 2016 national elections.

If you still haven’t registered, or if your record has been deactivated due to failure to vote in the last two elections (2013 and 2010), or if you’re unsure if your record has your biometric data, this simple 10-point guide is for you.

1. The deadline for voter registration is October 31, 2015. If you haven’t registered yet, you have 34 days to do so!

2. #NoBioNoBoto — Republic Act No. 10367, signed into law in 2013, requires all previously registered voters without biometrics to go to their local COMELEC office and undergo biometrics capture. The deadline for this is also on October 31, 2015.

3. From COMELEC: “The absence of biometrics in the voter’s registration record would cause COMELEC to deactivate the concerned registration records. When that happens, the concerned voter shall not be allowed in the May 2016 elections.”

4. Check if your voter record already has your biometric data by using this Registration Verification tool on COMELEC’s Precinct Finder page.

If your voter record is active and carries your biometric data, verification results would look like this:

With Biometrics

I have blocked text entries for privacy.

If your voter record has been deactivated, verification results would indicate why:

Deactivated

5. If your record has been deactivated, go to your local COMELEC office to apply for REACTIVATION.

6. To register for the first time or to reactivate your registration, you may download blank application forms here.

7. You also have the option to fill out an online application form. Visit irehistro.comelec.gov.ph, accomplish the form, then book an appointment with your local COMELEC office. Note that the filling out of the online application form does not make you a registered voter YET.

8. Bring ANY of the following valid IDs when you go to your local COMELEC office for registration or reactivation.

a. Employee’s identification card (ID), with the signature of the employer or authorized representative;
b. Postal ID;
c. PWD Discount ID;
d. Student’s ID or library card, signed by the school authority;
e. Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP) ID;
f. License issued by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC);
g. Certificate of Confirmation issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in case of members of ICCs or IPs;
h. SSS/GSIS ID;
i. Senior Citizen’s ID;
j. Driver’s license;
k. NBI clearance;
l. Passport;
m. Any other valid ID.

9. Make sure your ID has your address.

10. For other registration-related queries, may send an e-mail to registration@comelec.gov.ph or call telephone nos. (02) 525-5692 and (02) 525-4929.

WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE

In the national elections, you can vote for the President, the Vice President, 12 senators, the representative of your district, a party-list group, your city/town mayor, vice mayor, and councilors. If voting outside the National Capital Region, you can also vote for the governor, vice governor, and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

If you’ve grown skeptical of Philippine politics — maybe you think all candidates are the same old TraPo, or maybe you think the Philippines is unable to combat wicked problems like poverty and weak governance — National Alliance of Youth Leaders founder Jules Guiang’s Open Letter to the Ever-So-Righteous Filipino Voters rebuts reasons or excuses for the I-won’t vote mindset.

Below, I have outlined three reasons why I encourage you to go through the motions of registering to be able to vote for the 2016 polls:

1. We all play a part in building our country. The closing paragraph of Malou Tiquia’s recent editorial eloquently describes our duty to chart a better path for the Philippines:

“It is not easy to build a nation. Brick by brick we carry and toil. Brick by brick, we stumble and fall. This time around, we cannot afford not to carry our brick and lay it on the cornerstone made by previous generations and previous leaders. No leader alone can claim credit for where TeamPH is today. For it is brick by brick that we move. As Thomas Paine once said, “Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting It.’ Brick by brick.”

2. Our choice of national and local leaders will help create opportunities and influence policies that affect how we live. Are you tired of the daily scourge brought about by heavy congestion on our main roads and secondary arteries? Are your flights always delayed due to clogged airport runways? Perpetually wishing for an efficient mass transport system? We all have our own long list of big dreams for our country, but instead of merely ranting about civic and national issues, we have the power to elect leaders and policymakers that could provide viable and long-term solutions.

3. What we do — and what we do not do — have repercussions. A single grain of rice can tip the scale. Similarly, your single vote might make the difference. Again, democracy is more about participation than freedom. Take a stand in May 2016 — but first, make sure that you are a registered voter with complete biometrics data! No bio, no boto!

We must take sides.

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